Cenk Uygur on Online Video: Irreverent, Wild, and Fun
More and more consumers are being pulled away from traditional television and are turning to online video for both news and entertainment. According to Cenk Uygur, the host of The Young Turks, this trend is largely because online video is “more irreverent, a little wilder, and little bit more fun.”
With a background in both traditional and digital forms of media, Uygur understands the differences between conventional television and online video very well. If you remember, Uygur had his MSNBC show canceled earlier this year for, as he put it, his tone in regards to politics and Washington.
The cable network offered him another show during a different time slot, but Uygur declined the offer. He, instead, turned his efforts to his online show The Young Turks because he doesn’t think TV is the “end all beat all.”
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As he explained to WebProNews, the traditional news format puts you in a box. For example, on MSNBC, he said that politicians represent their donors instead of the people. Even though this boldness gave him good ratings, it ultimately didn’t matter to MSNBC management.
The story online, however, is quite different because there is much more freedom.
“Online, you can do anything you like,” said Uygur. “There are no gatekeepers, there are no executive producers you get to let people know what the reality is.”
“Since there are no gatekeepers, it opens up the media for everybody,” he added.
Uygur told us that he believed more people would transition to online video going forward. Incidentally, the latest Philips Wireless HD Net Connect Survey found that one in three consumers is watching more online video content than one year ago.
Although it is not easy to be successful online, he said that there are a lot more opportunities online as opposed to offline because the corporate hoops do not exist. Uygur pointed out that, while these opportunities are beneficial for the growth of online video, they are detrimental to traditional television networks.
“These old television networks are big ships that are hard to turn around,” he said. “I think, at some point, they’re going to hit an iceberg.”
Uygur went on to say that he believed online video and television would eventually merge and that people would forget they were ever different.
“When that happens, I kinda feel bad for the networks,” he said. “I feel bad that we’re gonna rip them up.”
While Uygur plans to continue his online program, he will also debut his show on Current TV on December 5. He did, however, assure us that he would display the same honesty and freedom on Current TV as he does online.
“We’re here to serve the audience, and if we veer from that, believe me, the audience lets us know,” said Uygur.