Since its launch in 2005, YouTube has been incredibly successful at convincing the world there is no better place on the internet to waste time. Users with spare moments ranging from a few minutes to a few hours regularly choose it, along with Wikipedia and Facebook, as their preferred diversion, but the company has fared far worse in trying to convince fans its content is a viable alternative to television.

Now, when I say viable alternative to television, I’m not talking about as a way to spend time. Obviously, YouTube has made great inroads in that respect, but even after six years, the medium is largely seen as a place to watch music videos and clips of embarrassing wedding toasts. Someone inclined to take in something like The Sopranos wouldn’t think of rummaging through internet videos to find moving and well-produced programming. There’s just not enough substance, or at least there isn’t enough substance yet.

Google, the current owners of YouTube, announced today a widescale initiative to ramp up the quality of the videos it’s offering. Under the new plan, the website will partner with scores of celebrities and writers to eventually create about 100 channels internet users could turn to instead of television. According to The Wall Street Journal, some of those partners will include Madonna, Jay-Z, Tony Hawk, Rainn Wilson and Deepak Chopra. Each will offer original programming catered to his or her own area of interest, ultimately combining to generate as much as twenty-five hours of content a day. Google’s initial investment is said to be north of one hundred million dollars, but after it’s recouped, the creators will generate around fifty-five percent of the advertising revenue.

The question is whether people will watch it. Every year, hundreds of schemes and inventions are touted as waves of the future, but very few have substantial and long-term implications for society. In fifty years, we might get all of our content this way. Then again, a year from now, the whole plan might be written off as a costly and foolish experiment.

What do you think? Will YouTube ever rival television? Sound off by voting in the poll below…

Will YouTube Ever Rival TV?

For more questions of the day, head here.

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