Archive for ray william johnson

Equals Three – The Future Of Television?

Posted in University Work (Old) with tags , , on February 5, 2010 by Adam Broome

So a few months back I started watching a show on Youtube called Equals Three. Over these last few months, the show has slowly but surely become more popular. Within the last few weeks, however, the show has begun to reach popularity of startling proportions. The man who hosts the show – Ray William Johnson – is now the most popular ‘Ray’ on Youtube. He has more hits than Ray Charles, Ray J (whoever that is) or Ray Stevens. In relation to the Media Production module I am currently studying (Convergent Media), I had an intriguing thought last night – could this be the future of television? Perhaps, the meaning of ‘celebrity’?

Let’s backtrack to two years ago. Ray William Johnson starts his own show called ‘Equals Three’ (or the ‘=3’ logo). It is the latest in a succession of shows on his channel. I’m unsure why the show has it’s name – perhaps because it usually features the top three viral videos ‘of the moment’, or perhaps because it looks like a teddy-bear smiling when you look at it sideways. Whatever the reason, the show continued going for over a year, with little in the way of gaining popularity.

That was, until, one such video (entitled ‘DON’T CALL ME FAT!’ – see bottom of this entry) managed to make the ‘most played’ list on the Youtube homepage (also my very own first ‘Equals Three’ experience). To date, the video has over seven million views, and remains the most-watched episode of Equals Three. Once people had seen the episode, I can assume, like me, they started watching all the other episodes. Generally clocking in at about five minutes each episode, Equals Three is a quick, humorous show that people can easily fit into even their most busiest of schedules.
However, it took only the next few months before ‘Zoosk’ managed to get a spot on Ray’s channel homepage. This could be perceived as a sign of worry for many of the media tycoons (especially those who operate in the television industry), trying to make a profit out of something that has become popular. And oh boy, should they be worried.
What we have here is a comedy show, which shows anywhere between two to four videos (usually three nowadays, as the show has become more professional over the months), with a running comedic commentary by Mr. RWJ himself. The videos, however, although often funny, can vary from the weird to the downright bizarre. Equals Three only shows the most popular (or ‘hottest’) videos on Youtube at the moment. Go through the backlog of episodes, and you have a virtual history of every extremely popular video (or video that went ‘viral’) that went around Youtube over the past eighteen months. It’s almost an index of the history of popular Youtube videos. Immediately this clashes with our very own ‘Rude Tube’ here in Britain, shown on Channel 4 at the start of every year, charting the top 100 ‘most watched’ videos on Youtube. Equals Three is (at present) updated twice a week. That’s a lot more than 100 videos a year – and a lot more ‘of the moment’.
But the reasons for causing panic in the TV industry doesn’t stop there. Indeed, Equals Three is free to view. It is available to view anytime. Ray William Johnson is a good presenter. It is just a guy sitting at this computer at home, but the wit is there. This show is funnier than most stuff on television nowadays. At the end of each episode, RWJ gets fellow subscribers to ask their own ‘Comment Question Of The Day’, where a question is asked, and viewers can respond in the comments section. So, perhaps most importantly, this show is interactive. No need to phone anyone up. No calling charge. Quick. Easy. And probably a lot less open to corruption and scandal. Oh… did I mention it was free?
So I realised I am bearing witness to the start of a revolution. This is it. The lack of ability for large corporate firms to regulate the internet. RWJ is a responsible person (although I’m sure he would ‘lol’ at that if he read this), and particularly rude or offensive videos get edited. This is a small-scale television show on the internet. It is just RWJ, his computer, and the subscribers / viewers. It is the power of the people, and the internet. If shows start appearing like this, made with little or no maintenance

costs, it spells disaster for the television industry. This is media converging on the internet. People have got control for free, and as long as they are responsible with this power, there is little or nothing the powers-that-be can do to stop it.

As for RWJ himself, having taken over as the most popular ‘Ray’ on Youtube, I’m sure it won’t be long before Equals Three starts reaching out to the outside world. And it will be a time when I can say I was there at the beginning… well, near the beginning.

The link to that all-famous video (and also to RWJ’s Youtube channel, including all episodes of Equals Three):

I’m Adam Broome, and I approve this message!