A viral video is a video that was created and becomes popular through the process of Internet sharing, typically through video sharing websites, social media and email. Viral videos often contain humorous content and include televised comedy sketches, such as The Lonely Island's "Lazy Sunday" and "Dick in a Box", Numa Numa videos, The Evolution of Dance, Chocolate Rain on YouTube; and web-only productions such as I Got a Crush... on Obama. Some eyewitness events have also been caught on video and have "gone viral" such as the Battle at Kruger. More recently, the Kony 2012 video by Invisible Children, Inc. became the most viral video in history with over 34,000,000 views on the first day of its upload on 5 March 2012 and over 97,000,000 views as of 1 April 2013. Another recent example is Gangnam Style by Psy. As of May 1, 2013, the music video has been viewed over 1.59 billion times on YouTube.
YouTube is a video-sharing website, created by three former PayPal employees in February 2005 and owned by Google since late 2006, on which users can upload, view and share videos. The company is based in San Bruno, California, and uses Adobe Flash Video and HTML5 technology to display a wide variety of user-generated video content, including movie clips, TV clips, and music videos, as well as amateur content such as video blogging, short original videos, and educational videos.
Most of the content on YouTube has been uploaded by individuals, although media corporations including CBS, the BBC, Vevo, Hulu, and other organizations offer some of their material via the site, as part of the YouTube partnership program. Unregistered users can watch videos, while registered users can upload an unlimited number of videos. Videos considered to contain potentially offensive content are available only to registered users at least 18 years old. YouTube, LLC was bought by Google for US$1.65 billion in November 2006 and now operates as a Google subsidiary.
...... New Videos ......
...... Old Videos ......
History: Viral videos began circulating before the major video sharing site YouTube by e-mail. One of these early videos was "The Spirit of Christmas" which surfaced in 1995. In 1996 "Dancing Baby" appeared. This video was released as samples of 3D character animation software. Ron Lussier, the animator who cleaned up the raw animation, began passing the video around LucasArts, his workplace at the time. A particularly well-known early example was "All your base are belong to us", based on a poorly translated video game, which was first distributed as a GIF animation and became popular in the year 2000.
Viral videos' staying power relies on hooks which draw the audience to watch them. The hooks are able to become a part of the viral video culture after being shown repeatedly. The hooks, or key signifiers, are not able to be predicted before the videos become viral.
More recently, there has been a surge in viral videos on video sharing sites such as YouTube, partially because of the availability of affordable digital cameras.
Financial implications: The web traffic gained by viral videos allows for advertising revenue. The YouTube website is monetized by selling and showing advertising. According to the New York Times, YouTube uses an algorithm called "reference rank" to evaluate the viral potential of videos posted to the site. Using evidence from as few as 10,000 views, it can asses the probability that the video will go viral. If it deems the video a viable candidate for advertising, it contacts the original poster by e-mail and offers a profit-sharing contract. By this means, such videos as "David After Dentist" have earned more than $100,000 for their owners. One successful YouTube video creator, Andrew Grantham, whose "Ultimate Dog Tease" has been viewed more than 120,000,000 times (as of November 2012), entered an agreement with Paramount Pictures in February 2012 for the development of a feature film. The film was to be written by Alec Berg and David Mandel. Pop stars such as Justin Bieber and Esmée Denters also started their careers via YouTube videos which ultimately went viral.
Viral videos with significant Social impact or the classics