ELMS: YouTube’s new venture best thing to happen to TV since … TV

“Numa Numa,” “David After Dentist” and the infinite amount of adorable puppies and babies that made YouTube the household name it is today may be going the way of the Dodo as the video-sharing site prepares to roll out some changes over the course of next year.

At the end of October, YouTube announced its plan to create somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 channels with original programming, featuring musicians, athletes, comedians and other well-known entertainers. This move seems like an attempt to create an online alternative to cable TV, something Internet users and the entertainment industry have both been anticipating.

Celebrities like Jay-Z, Rainn Wilson and Madonna have already signed on, as well as media outlets like Slate and The Wall Street Journal. According to The New York Times, Google (which owns YouTube) is prepared to dish out up to $100 million to various producers as motivation to launch channels with the site. Producers of “The Office,” “The Biggest Loser,” “Teen Mom,” “Jersey Shore” and “The Hills” have already teamed up to create a pop culture channel, and the creators of the Food Network’s “Chopped” are working on a channel all about food.

The channels, in traditional YouTube form, will be free for viewers and fully supported by revenue generated by ads. It is estimated that once this initiative is fully launched, YouTube will be posting up to 25 hours of new content every day, making it much more than just a destination for Internet memes.

But what does this all mean for us, the viewers?

To some degree, we’ll just have to wait and see. But I’m excited already. I pay much more than I’d like to admit for cable, and I fork out even more for DVR because I’m rarely home during the actual air time of the shows I’m interested in. (So don’t tell me what happened this week on “How I Met Your Mother” — I haven’t watched it yet!)

So many people already watch TV shows on the Internet through Hulu or sites like it, and with the growing ubiquity of the laptop, tablets and other mobile devices, I don’t know that YouTube channels will foster that big of a change in the way we receive our news and entertainment. Our lives revolve around the Internet, not around TV, newspapers or radio. It’s about time something like this developed.

The only reason it hasn’t previously come to fruition probably has to do with money, and YouTube undoubtedly has the funding and resources to pull off this venture successfully. Adding more professionally made videos to their pool of amateurs posting footage of themselves singing into their webcams will likely broaden the site’s audience and therefore entice more advertisers to team up with them.

Sure, we viewers will probably have to sit through a few 60-second ads each time we watch a show, but we’re used to that already, and it’s better than the four minutes of commercials we’re subjected to with cable. That, and we already have the ability to tailor online advertisements to our interests.

You can view a complete list of pending channels on YouTube’s website or blog and sign up for updates about when each channel is launching. The channel I’m looking forward to most is titled “American Hipster,” described as a “comedic channel exploring pop culture through the lens of hipsterism, that ironically popular movement built on not being popular.”

This initiative is a big change in the broad field of media, but I think it’s a good one. I’m sure we’ll still be able to get our “Charlie Bit Me” and “Scarlet Takes a Tumble” videos, but I’m looking forward to new shows that I can watch on my own time and with limited commercials. That, and the hopeful return of the retro phrase, “Turn on the Tube.”