Call us old-fashioned, but we couldn’t help feeling a tinge of sadness when we read many an article last week about the demise of the traditional television set. Turns out the old boob tube has taken a nose dive in sales. For the first time in more than 20 years, the number of homes in the United States with TV sets has plummeted. The folks at Nielsen, who conducted a survey of television set sales and then broke the bad news to networks and advertisers last week, attribute the slow demise of television sets to two things: a bad economy and the rise of new technology. While our days in front of the idiot box in our pajamas are long gone, we know for a fact that folks are still watching — it’s only the equipment that has changed. And this is great news for viral marketers and video content gurus.
You don’t have to be Oprah (and by the sound of it, maybe it’s better that you’re not Oprah) to have your own media empire these days. With the increase of online and mobile viewing as well as podcasts, businesses that may once have disappeared in the digital shuffle are finding niche audiences online. Sanjay Thumma, for example, has used video content to become one of the world’s biggest cooking stars. Haven’t heard of him? Check him out, because the 3 million people who watch Sanjay cook Indian food on YouTube can’t be wrong. Sanjay has built a global online empire that could easily go toe-to-toe with the Marthas and Emerils of the world. Without having to rely on big networks or large parent companies, Sanjay has produced nearly 400 cooking videos on YouTube while also selling his own cookbook and DVDs. Sanjay has inadvertently made Indian food universal while changing the way we market our businesses and passions.
So as we perhaps say goodbye to traditional television sets, we are also welcoming in a brand new era of media stars. This new generation of viral marketers and video content producers are one-man bands; producing, writing and developing video content that will not only help their brands but engage their following.