People Innovation Excellence

YouTube vs Television: The Battle for Supremacy

By Christian P. Valencio

4th year English department student  / A freelance editor at  the Jakarta Post

Remember when YouTube was referred as the “indie style” of television and 2010-2012 was hailed as the “Golden Age of Television” due to the widespread popularity of well-directed shows such as Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad? Say goodbye to all of them because YouTube is taking over the status of being the superior one in terms of media-entertainment. The internet-darling youtubers — who are still seen as unfamiliar faces on the TV screen — are now competing against the billion-dollar entertainment company that used to showcase their product exclusively for television, yet decided to also try to go “viral” on YouTube due to the rapidly increasing popularity of the Google-owned video-streaming website. Also affecting the audiences who may use the service of YouTube to seemingly escape the television content, now still have to deal with it even when they are not watching television, technically being force-fed by the TV company. Contrasted with TV shows that has taken over YouTube while still maintaining their air-time on TV, youtubers’ status, however, are the other way around and they struggled to justify their platform’s superiority against television.

Source: Youtube
Source: Youtube

Arguably, one of the most essential reasons why people preferred YouTube over TV nowadays is that they can watch whatever they desire to watch simply with just one click. When a commercial on TV is shown, the audience has two options, either sit through it until their favored show is back on air, or change the channel and came back to the previous channel a few minutes later with the risk of missing a few minutes of the desired show. On YouTube, advertisement usually pop up before the video starts and all the audiences need to do is watch it for less than seven seconds, then click the “skip advertisement” annotation to land right on the video. In addition to skip-able ads, YouTube also comes with the “similar videos” feature so the audience could get recommendation of what to watch based on what they just watched. Television, on the other hand, does not have that feature yet. An anti-horror comedy-loving female audience who had a great time laughing thanks to the comedy show that she just recently watched, could be spooked out the next minute if the channel’s next show is a gore-fest horror. Provided with all of those consumer-pleasing features, it makes sense that some people choose YouTube over TV.

Although YouTube seemingly beats television on several aspects, there is one thing that YouTube cannot compete against, the stars. YouTube stars, commonly referred as youtubers, are not as big as the television stars yet. With that being said, it is definitely not a surprise that most of the youtubers set their aim on a spot on television so they can get more and bigger fanbase which also means more money await for them. Why TV stars had bigger names is arguably due to the fact that television content in terms of being approved and validated to be published goes in a very complex cycle. The content has to meet the standard that has been set by the company or production as well as being constant if it is a running series. YouTube content, nevertheless, goes in a much simpler way. Anyone can upload the most random video on YouTube, validate themselves, and goes viral in less than day, even if it is going to be forgotten less than a month. In conclusion, TV stars put more effort on their well-directed TV show, therefore making the show and themselves memorable in the eyes and the minds of the audiences, raising the stars’ star-value in the process. Unlike some YouTube shows’ schedules, TV shows’ schedules are required to be steady. Fox Channel’s Family Guy for example, has been running for 13 seasons, with at least 16 episodes per season, meaning that in a year, they are needed to put their show on the channel for at least around three months and uses the rest eight or nine months to made more episodes for the next season scheduled for the next year. One of the most well-liked comedy shows on YouTube, named EnterTheDojoShow for example, does not have a fixed schedule. Most of the times they published three videos per month, however, there are some other months where they only published one video in a month, with the most videos that they upload in a month is 11 videos. Other example is a YouTube vlogger (video blogger) named Ella Grace Denton. Using the username ellagracedenton08, she gained popularity due to her quirky and fun personality but later on, decided to stopped being a vlogger and deleted all of her vlogs, leaving only three videos on her channel which is two art-related journey videos and one make-up review video. She cited on her blogpost titled “We need to live more” that the reason she quit is because she “does not comfortable making videos anymore” and felt “kind of embarrassed”. On TV, if a performer already engaged in a show, then he or she has to go through it until it reaches the end, no matter how embarrassed the performer is about the content. If the performer quits without the company’s consent, legal lawsuit would be involved and things would be more complicated, something that a self-promoting YouTube vlogger would not have to deal with if he or she decided to quit whenever he or she pleases. Youtubers are not the only ones who had the tendency to do “internet’s hit-and-run”, but television stars on YouTube are also. As stated by Zonday, Tay (2015), in an episode of “Youtubers react…” web-series titled “YOUTUBERS REACT TO JIMMY FALLON (The Tonight Show)” published on March 5, 2015, he would like to see the likes of Jimmy Fallon — who hosted The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, a talk-show that use to upload some parts of their show on YouTube and most of the time achieve the viral video status — to “do collaborations with them [youtubers] which would be a win-win solution” for both parties, with youtubers gained more experience from Fallon and more recognition from Fallon’s fanbase and Fallon gained more respect from youtubers. Most of the youtubers thinks that it is rather unfair for Fallon to play around on their platform, YouTube, since he made his show for television, not for YouTube, and therefore making him and his billion-dollar production company a competitor for them in becoming the one who sits on the throne of YouTube while at the same time, the youtubers have a very small chance to be featured on TV. However, they agree that “YouTube is for everybody” and pretty much agreed with Zonday’s opinion about how to make things fair for both parties while making Fallon to give credit where credit is due.

Image is property of:
Image is property of:

Popularity and profits are the two things that most people would care and aim for, especially in the entertainment media. According to Youtube Downloader ( in a blogpost titled “YouTube vs Television” on 2013, television beats YouTube in their earnings by more than twice. In terms of how many eyes set to the channels, the result is also pretty similar. In terms of how many hours spent watching, YouTube beats television by almost 4 times its size. In terms of increasing hours of watching content per month, YouTube beats television by 3.8 hours against 2 and a half hours. It could be inferred that even though YouTube is more popular, television gains the more money. It does make sense why many YouTubers set their goals on TV, which is to gain more money, and why TV shows starting to spread their wings to YouTube, which is to be more popular to the audience which means more money awaits for them in the future. In terms of how many eyes set to the channels, the result is also pretty similar. In terms of how many hours spent watching, YouTube beats television by almost 4 times its size. In terms of increasing hours of watching content per month, YouTube beats television by 3.8 hours against 2 and a half hours. According to the data by Youtube Downloader above, it could be inferred that even though YouTube is more popular, television gains the more money. It does make sense why many YouTubers set their goals on TV, which is to gain more money, and why TV shows starting to spread their wings to YouTube, which is to be more popular to the audience which means they could earn more money due to their increasing popularity and demand.

The debate of YouTube vs. television seems like an endless one, with some people prefers YouTube over TV while the rest prefers TV over TV. The writer, however, thinks that the battle is pretty much a draw. YouTube has a couple of things that they can offer but television cannot, while television also has another couple of things that cannot be offered by YouTube but can be offered by them. The matter of declaring the winner is totally based on the audience’s preference. Due to the fact that the writer rarely have a time to watch TV and spends his time mostly in college or office, the writer preferred YouTube over television since he can get access to YouTube anytime anywhere as long as an internet connection is available and the fact that he can choose whatever he wants to watch, which is something that is not completely applicable when watching television content. Due to the fact that bandwagon-jumping of the stars is not vice-versa, where the TV stars can put their product on YouTube while youtubers cannot do it the other way around, Zonday’s suggestion of making the likes of Jimmy Fallon to do collaborations with youtubers is a possible way to make things fair for both parties. Considering that the financial profits of television reigns supreme over TV no matter how popular YouTube gets, it could be predicted that at least for the next couple of years everything will stay the same. In order to maximize their fame, performers need to be on YouTube to gain more popularity but they also need to be on TV to make money. Only performing on one platform would be less successful compared to performing on both platforms. As of this moment, the battle may end as a draw, but internet is pretty much unpredictable. Everything is indeed potentially stays the same for the next couple of years, but with years to come and better technology awaits to be explored in the future as well as the diversity of audience’s demands, there is a possibility of everything changed drastically 20 years later from now.


Penny, Adam. Why the battle between YouTube and TV matters to brands. (
London, England: The Guardian, 2013.

Van, Alan. YouTube vs. TV: And the Winner Is … (
Los Angeles, California, United States of America: NewMediaRockstars, 2013.

Votta, Rae. YouTubers want Jimmy Fallon and other TV stars to work with them. (
Austin, Texas, United States of America: The Daily Dot, 2015.

ytadmin. YouTube vs Television (
Gunzenhausen, Germany: YouTube Downloader (YTD), 2013.

Zonday, Tay, and Patrick, Matthew. YOUTUBERS REACT TO JIMMY FALLON (The Tonight Show) (

Los Angeles, California, United States of America: YouTube, 2015.

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