We've had two parties now where substantial portions of the evening were spent watching YouTube videos on our Wii. Someone would say "Have you seen this one?" and then key up something like Flight of the Conchords. We'd all watch, and laugh heartily, until someone would suggest another video to watch, like the Star Trek version of the NIN Closer video or Chad Vader singing Chocolate Rain. I'm extremely tempted to purchase a USB keyboard for use with the Wii, because keying in search terms using the on-screen keyboard and the Wiimote is a real pain.
Adam Rosi-Kessel observes that kids today are growing up on YouTube. It's an observation that I've shared myself. The amount of YouTube watching that goes on in our house far exceeds television watching. The twins spend a lot of time taking turns on the laptop they share to watch things like talking cats, or fancy soccer tricks. They're far more interested in YouTube videos than they are in watching broadcast television or renting a DVD from Blockbuster.
The kids haven't expressed any interest in publishing anything to YouTube, which has me simultaneously relieved and disappointed. I'm glad that the kids aren't developing a legion of internet followers, but I'm also a little saddened that the kids are more interested in consuming than creating. I do hope that the creative spark will be ignited within them and that they'll take a stab at making something.
The kind of niche programming you can view on YouTube is far greater than even Netflix can provide, and it's all on-demand. Programming is almost entirely uninterrupted by advertising. You can watch what you want to watch, when you want to watch it. I wonder what the long-term effect of YouTube and its ilk will be on mainstream media and the big content producers.