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The Culture Show: Is YouTube the Future of TV?

Wed Sep 4, 10-10.30pm, BBC2

Does the rise of YouTube – one billion monthly users and counting – signal the future of TV or sound its death knell? Jacques Peretti hasn’t got a clue and by the end of this superficial but entertaining investigation still isn’t much the wiser.

But he does uncover – without really exploring, it has to be said – the debate lying beneath Kevin Spacey’s much-praised Edinburgh lecture in favour of TV executives letting the creatives off the leash and embracing online. Just how is freedom of form reflected in quality of content, and should that matter if enough people are watching it? Important questions are also asked about who makes the money and how. Does YouTube allow enough advertising income to trickle down to the people who make the videos? Well, Peretti talks to enough bright young sparks to encourage the belief that even if you can’t get rich, you can at least make a living.

Time and format restrictions prevent too much digging, though. Shame, as there’s a series in here somewhere. If only there was a platform through which to distribute it…

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