Ramírez Pinzón, Mary Angélica Sánchez de Sales, María Wizner Ruíz, María José

YouTube as means of Media democratization 4. Bibliography . Conclusion 7. Democratization of Media and Media globalization 5. What is alternative Media? 2. YouTube as a tool of commercialization 6. Introduction.INDEX 1. YouTube's history 3.

This fact together with the two remaining quite problematic criteria makes Atton wonder “why should they [alternative media] be considered as the special cases they see themselves to be if they do not seem to be able to 'even define what they do' ” (Atton 2002:14). in her book Alternative Media Chris Atton raises the question whether “we use ‘alternative’ as a catch-all for anything that isn’t available at our local newsagents? Is it a synonym for ‘underground’. Introduction. Downing takes a slightly different turn when he talks about the feasibility of the term ‘alternative’ in the sense that "that alternative is almost oxymoronic because everything. Atton points this out by giving an example of what criteria certain publishers. The subject matter of their publications should focus on ‘social responsibility or creative expression. The Publisher has to be non-commercial. ‘radical’. What is alternative Media? The term “alternative media” as well as the phenomenon itself can seem to be quite tricky ones. is the motivation for publication’.1. For example. ‘oppositional’ – even ‘samizdat’? (Atton 2002:2). “an initial difficulty (…) is defining more precisely what the “alternative” label actually means” (Dowmunt 1998:244). Importantly. namely. not the concern for profit. it is only one criterion that needs to be met in order for a medium to be alternative. at some point. it is not just the vagueness of the term “alternative” that attracts many scholars’ attention but also the blurred limits of alternative media as such. or usually a combination of both’. 3. demonstrating that ‘a basic concern for ideas. is alternative to something else" (Lee 2007:2). (Atton 2002:13). 2. it is enough for publishers to define themselves as alternative publishers. Finally. “the editors of Alternatives in Print” apply to determining whether a medium is “alternative” or not: 1. The same is reiterated in Lee who comments that in . As Dowmunt has it. Different scholars have different opinions towards what the term is supposed to express and what it actually encompasses. Furthermore.

and so forth. 2. Ultimately. Our further discussion of the liberal-pluralist approach and the Marxist approach will hinge on this premise of alternative media as means of complementation or replacement of mass media. This is what can be found in the definition of alternative media as it was proposed by the Royal Commission on the Press in 1997: 1. and democracy” (Lee 2007: 2-3). An alternative publication deals with the opinions of small minorities. the Village Voice. On the other hand. the liberal-pluralists address the media for dissident social groups. socialists and communists.many cases media institutions appearing to be exactly the same as non-alternative institutions claim to be alternative merely because their headquarters say so. From the liberal-pluralist point of view. it only leads to believe that the term is contrived and pretentious. feminists. mainstream culture. As Abel puts it in Atton. (For instance. (Idem) What happens when such alternatives media are created is that it enables people to experience a much greater diversity of ideas and leads to a more democratic state of affairs. This idea conceptualizes alternative media as the media which need to coexist with and supplement mass media. utopian and communitarians. “alternative media (…) [is] created by those who have been denied access to the mainstream media marketplace” (Lee 2007:4). including minorities. example taken from Lee 2007:2). there are those scholars who conclude that alternative media “is required to complement or replace mass media (…)Thus. The bottom line of this approach is that alternative media basically helps to serve the needs of the marginalized: By alternative media. It espouses views or deals with subjects not given regular coverage by Publications generally available at newsagents (idem) . “what we are left with is a term so elastic as to be devoid of virtually any signification’ (Atton 2002:14). defining alternative media is associated with the notion of mass media and society . It expresses attitudes hostile to widely held beliefs. rather than replacing them. 3.specifically social power.

“one-way communication must disappear and the producer-consumer relation be changed to a relationship among communicators” (idem). Therefore. Due to the Internet and the new digitalization era multiple instances of alternative media.” (Lee 2007:5). primary weapons of social control' ” (Lee 2007:6). such as local radio. they use it as a medium for the audience to have news not only published in articles. Twitter. Later on the audience response can begin: anyone can give information. This is also what McChesney means when he talks about establishment of reformed media as a “global public sphere. but also in videos. As Tony Dowmunt puts it. One of their . where people can communicate with one another without having the communication filtered and censored by corporate and commercial interests’” (Lee 2007:5). this led Gitlin to conclude that the media needs to be transformed. “alternative media mean non-commercial media serving the public interests of the working class. dynamic and lived examples of practices that challenge mainstream models – of how cultural consumers can become producers as well”.Another approach towards alternative media is considered from the viewpoint of Marxism. “alternative media do give us specific. In other words. blogs. the Marxist approach concentrates on how to eliminate the “inequality of access to news sources and production systems of mass media” (Lee 2007: 7). as far as the interconnection aspect is concerned. opinions and thoughts in their own blogs on the Internet. To McChesney. This conclusion has its roots in Gitlin who claims that “it is media that play a central role in production and distribution of a ruling class’s hegemony” and that in this way the media “become 'primary centers of capitalist enterprise. Importantly. where users can interconnect with other people are appearing and are worthwhile looking at inside the theoretical framework of alternative media. primary pipelines for capitalist values. we can look at weblogs as an example of alternative media Weblogs can be seen to connect people by quite a number of technological tools. these types of cybermedia often include videos from YouTube. This counter- hegemonic approach Marxism espouses can be seen to fit into the framework of the Internet as “a as a new decentralized network against dominant hegemony” (Lee 2007:21). Therefore. Facebook. Ultimately. namely. etc.

.most important aspects is the fact that they are public and everybody can be informed about daily news and videos.

when its official launch took place (November 2005) with $11. three employees of PayPal Company. apart from more than 100 video views. so it has become a Google' subsidiary. More currently. and one of the most important features of this website is that it uses a technology called "Adobe Flash Video" so as to display its content. YouTube was first designed by Chad Hurley. California. An important fact during YouTube's history is that in October 2006 it was purchased by Google Inc. Nowadays the company's headquarters are placed in San Bruno. YouTube's history YouTube is a website where users can download. The website grew amazingly quickly. Jawed Karim and Steve Chen. share and deliver videos from all over the world.000 videos per day.65 billion. Nevertheless its profits are not as remarkable as they may seem. . nowadays YouTube is the predominant online video provider. Before being bought by Google.2.5 million budget. Even if YouTube's benefits are far from desirable (a report estimated that the company would loose $470 million in 2009). on March 2010. with more than 14 billion videos viewed in May 2010. Though YouTube is only five years old. California. YouTube's views exceeded the quantity of two billion videos per day. But this business model wasn’t as profitable as they firstly imagined. in July 2006 the website received more or less 65. for $1. YouTube already stated that its mechanism for earning money was advertisement-based. according to a report realized in June 2009. YouTube's story began in San Mateo. it's still growing in number of videos and also in audience. upload.

Ownership: commercialized or non-commercialized 2. YouTube is more non-commercialized nor commercialized. Production systems: professional or participatory 5. also subculture’s view. to prove that it requires five mentioned components and to show how alternative media can be a democracy bearer: Example 1: Taiwan politics. This component of alternative media as we can see immediately concerns liberal-pluralist approach and a democratisation process which is related with political. social movements. Labour processes: traditional or less-hierarchical YouTube is a new alternative electronic media/medium and it satisfies all these components. 2001) 1. Political positions: dominant or oppositional 3. It is necessary to analyse some examples in order to have an image of YouTube as I will focus on Atton’s alternative media model which is based on the following components: (Atton. A labour process is democratized . Subjectivity and cultural representation: mainstream or subculture In Taiwan from the late 1970s to the early 1990s the alternative media started to play . To prove liberal-pluralist approach we will concentrate on point 2: political positions. where the main principle is diversity based on freedom. liberal-pluralist media. Taiwanese television news covers the Double Ten Day Protests: http://www. In production level YouTube is professional and participatory. Democratization of media is as a democracy bearer. YouTube as Means of Media Democratization In this case I will give an example of liberal-pluralist approach to alternative media. suggests dominant and oppositional political opinions. and proposes mainstream scene and information.‘everyone for everyone’.3.

youtube. this example shows mainstream media with news image limitation on TV. As the mainstream media have surrender themselves to sensationalism and partisan rifts guided by owners’ interest and preference. but it is different from the first one. of the dissident oppositional media have risen against the repression of freedom of speech. We can find a lot of examples on Youtube. Here different perspectives of political opinion are shown and various opinions of certain countries are included as well. It stimulates pluralism. the man comments the situation on mainstream media and in this moment creates alternative media with his liberal opinion. oppositional to dominating. 2007).com/watch?v=ljv7rMFc_yk This speech was showed on mainstream media through historical perspectives and was controlled by authoritarians. heterogeneity of styles. Alternative media propose diverse perspectives or “alternative media is a complement or even major force for reform” political or social in Taiwan. everyone can have his own opinion about this. Example 3: Fall of the Berlin Wall: http://www. This is sensibilised with contribution of different media origins. The following examples are concerned with pluralism. but it is necessary to cite: “Mainstream media were obedient to official propaganda under authoritarian control. Hitler was depicted the way he wanted. Example 2: Hitler speech on the future of Germany: http://www. of perspectives. the alternative media exist to make people’s voices” (Jinsun Lee). This example is also about an historical event. but subtitles that we can see show liberalism because everyone can understand what Hitler is speaking about. .a big role for political democratization (Lee.

Audience is active. criticize and complain about content. We can observe comments on YouTube that encourage or discourage audience to watch uploaded videos. media is not one-sided. which can help users to communicate and be informed about what happened in the world. “Youtube is one complement of other media which helps to democratize the information broadcasting”. As a result. If we have more informative webs. . It is a very quick medium to denounce situations and it helps to be aware of facts that occur in other countries. Nowadays. They need other media in this new era to renew the traditional ones.4. we will have more pluralism and we will be able to discern better contents and points of view. Democratization of Media and Media globalization It is interesting to focus on the digitalization era and discuss if this period will allow the democratization in communication with more pluralism for everybody. For instance. As an example. people can interact and they will soon forget the passive role that they have played before. We are in a new period where technology helps audience to answer. but there is reciprocity between the sender and the receiver. YouTube can produce this diversity and pluralism because people have their own opinions and they can express their attitude through the Internet and make comments on videos. we look at YouTube. newspapers cannot publish the whole information that they receive.

As a result. The company has focused heavily on refining a user’s experience and collecting data on how viewers find videos on YouTube” (Yen. YouTube as a tool of commercialization When Google Inc purchased YouTube great numbers of YouTube users were convinced that this would ruin the authentic YouTube experience of community. However. advertising on ABC. In YouTube’s case advertisers do not attempt to control its content. . This leads to what Suzie Reider.” The reasons why YouTube does not appear to be intrusively monetized at the moment and how it is working towards becoming more commercialized will be the main aspects of YouTube I would like to look at in this part of the paper.5. for instance. and on YouTube which is very much “a vast collection of campy. points out when she says that YouTube realizes what a “very. On the contrary. the company is forced to look for seemingly seamless ways how to “blend marketing into YouTube’s offerings” and to keep its audience satisfied at the same time which may prove to be really difficult at times (idem). This is quite paradoxical in the sense that YouTube does not follow the standard advertising model where “advertising as a primary source of income inevitably leads to business interests (…) controlling the content of the media” (Atton 2002:37). The role of YouTube as a tool of commercialization can be felicitously summarized in a quote from YiWyn Yen’s article “YouTube looks for the Money Clip”: “What isn’t clear is why Google (…) hasn’t figured out how to make a profit from YouTube yet. very fickle (…) ‘What have you done for me lately?’ audience” it attracts (in Emily Steel’s “YouTube Executive Walks a Tightrope”). Another reason why YouTube is not heavily commercialized as of yet is the nature of its content. One of the reasons why YouTube is not very heavily commercialized in an intrusive way is the nature of its audience. As Google co-founder Sergey Brin says “making money wasn’t a top priority. it is many advertisers who see YouTube’s unprofessionally produced content as a problem for advertising. it does not seem to have happened – at least not yet. They make a large distinction according to Yi-Wyn Yen. YouTube’s first chief marketing officer. 2008). user-uploaded clips” (Yen.

Denuo” the main reason for that will be that “without getting on YouTube. vp. This new ad format has received quite a lot of attention. "nearly double the prime-time audience of all three major US television networks combined”). It found that viewers abandon videos that include pre-roll ads at a rate of more than 70%. YouTube is becoming commercialized to a certain extent as more and more advertisers realize what a huge audience it attracts (cf. “Google believes it finally has found the formula to cash in on YouTube’s potential as a . This is also reiterated in Mike Shields (“Let’s (Not) Make a Deal”): “Not a lot of advertisers are willing to throw their brand into that environment. you don't always get picked up by Google search” (idem). In her article Emily Steel states that “YouTube has spent months testing different ad formats to figure out which models wouldn't alienate its viewers. the “chief digital officer for GM (general motors) Planworks”. Curt Hecht. "I don't know that the sales are there. director of digital media at MPG's Media Contacts. "It's kind of not a video advertising site. YouTube videos ads etc). It is true that there are some advertisement formats on YouTube (cf. YouTube would serve more than two billion videos per day. so it ditched pre-roll commercials. As Miguel Helft refers to it in his article “Google Aims to Make YouTube Profitable with Ads”. rich media ads. how can we package this in front of a ton of eyeballs” (Yen). Therefore. which powers Web video for Fox News and Scripps." added Adam Kasper." On the other hand. there is another way to look at YouTube. As a result.” The approach YouTube has adopted ultimately is comparatively unintrusive overlay ads. some predict that in the future this will change. This is precisely what discourages them from advertising on YouTube. “senior vp. Furthermore. marketing at Maven Networks.2008). According to Todd Krieger. advertisers feel that most of clips on YouTube are unmarketable as it is only 10-20 per cent of its content that is professionally produced. standard banner ads. believes that eventually advertisers will find ways to approach YouTube’s audience: “We’re trying to figure out what is the value in brand association with content that’s not premium (…) The approach we take is. senior vp. in March 31." said Kristen Ferguson. it is crucial that in an effort to keep its audience happy YouTube does not use pre-roll ads. however. 2010.

then for four years to come the company’s yearly revenue would be only 12 million dollars and the prospect in five years’ time would be nearly “$200 million of revenue: nice. Thus. The New York Times) Nevertheless. as well as demographic profiles. but nothing to write home about“ (idem).” (Henry Blodget. Naughton [Google’s director for media platforms said Google would charge advertisers $20 for every 1. however.magnet for online video advertising and keep its audience loyal at the same time. . in the year to come YouTube could make an annual revenue of 1 billion dollars (according to a Wall Street analysis) which would be “enough to make a meaningful contribution” to Google (Blodget. it seems like in this way advertisers communicate to viewers and consequently YouTube could make a profit out of advertising: The revenue from the ads will be split between the media partner and YouTube. the viewer is still in control: they can choose whether they want to stop the video and watch the advertisement or not. If the conservative scenario (10% of all YouTube videos getting an overly ad) comes true. The other scenario. YouTube will not prove financially beneficial straight away. If this scenario works out. “Analyzing YouTube’s Revenue Potential”). as Henry Blodget argues in his article on YouTube’s revenue potential. “Analyzing YouTube’s Revenue Potential”). is less optimistic. (…) Ms.000 times the ads were displayed. then in five years’ time YouTube will possibly generate nearly “$13 billion of revenue--closing in on Google's current revenue today” (idem). However. geography and hour of the day (…) (Helft. The article discusses two scenarios: in the most aggressive case (50% of all YouTube videos getting an overlay ad). Naughton also said advertisers would be able to take aim at specific channels and genres.” Now some clips have an overlay ad which is put on some fifteen seconds after the user starts watching the video. Ms. It was revealed in tests that “approximately 75% of viewers presented with an ad chose to watch the whole ad.

6. . Thus. on the one hand YouTube can be considered a democratic tool par excellence since its main objective is to convey information to a wide range of people. In the other hand it does seem that YouTube is not much of a money-maker and it may probably be seen as a sunk cost for Google. Conclusion To sum up. However. it is obvious that YouTube is becoming more commercialized but not in the ruthless and intrusive way some of its users may have anticipated. Google may have purchased it without having the intention of turning it into a profitable contributor to Google’s annual revenue. In either case. it may very well be the case that Google bought YouTube only to make sure no other media conglomerate buys it.

Chris. Alternative Media.cnn. The Wall Street Journal. Daya Kishan Thussu. Emily. 2008. 2008-04-30 http://www.om2001. Ed. Google Aims to Make YouTube Profitable With Ads The New York Times. CA. 2002. Yi-Wyn. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association. Miguel. How Alternative for What?:Reconceptualizing Alternative Media in the Global Age. Electronic Empires: Global Media and Local Resistance. 1998.allacademic.html . 2007 Retrieved on May.fortune.nytimes. May 23. 22 August 2007. London: Arnold.7. Washington . Chris. Jinsun.html?mod=rss_whats_news_technol ogy&apl=y .wsj.Steel. Tony.Dowmunt. Paper presented in the ICA preconference on May 2001. Bibliography . .Atton. . YouTube to Start Selling Ads in Videos.Lee.pdf . 25 April 2008 http://www. 22 August 2007. Fortune on CNNMoney. TBA. San 25 April 2008 http://techland. 25 April 2008 An Alternative Globalization: Youthful Resistance to Electronic Empires. . (2001) Approaching alternative media: Theory and methodology. YouTube Looks for the Money Clip.Atton.Helft. 25 March 2008.Yen. from http://ourmedianetwork. London: Sage Publications.

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