YouTube the Craig’s List of Local Television?

Jeff Jarvis reflects on a reader’s observation that the advent of viral online videos at YouTube and elsewhere may have the same impact on the bottom lines of local television affiliates as Craig’s List did for local newspapers. It’s an interesting point and one I think has some merit.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. One big difference is the direct substitution effect. Local newspapers derived considerable revenue from their classifieds. Those pages were likely the highest marginal profit pages. Relatively low cost to produce and chock full of tiny ads paid for by people. Craig’s list let people put those ads up for less money. So the people with the money (the advertisers in the classifieds) got their needs met another way and started taking their money with them.

    Youtube threatens local television’s eyeball time, but that only indirectly threatens local televisions advertisement time. When youtube starts making you watch a 30 second commercial for every 5 minutes of video (or whatever ratio makes sense), then it will really be a threat. Because then the advertisers can get their needs met by working with youtube and then the local stations will start to hurt.