In the past, the key economic requirement of mass media was to produce content that appeals to the masses. Today, meaningful content comes in all forms, and video distribution platform YouTube is an enabler for content creators to pursue specific topics that they feel passionate about and to find audiences that share their passion.
Kevin Allocca, YouTube head of culture and trends, took to the main stage at Cannes Lions 2017 to explore the many different ways in which creativity comes to life on YouTube.
First, he looked at the notion of interaction and how relationships that form through watching other people’s content are driving some of the biggest cultural trends.
Take April the giraffe for example. In February this year, a small zoo in New York decided to place a web cam in the enclosure of a pregnant giraffe. Almost overnight, April became a global phenomenon, and a live stream where absolutely nothing happened racked up 3.5 million views every day.
“What was most interesting about this case,” says Allocca. “Is that the average time that people spent watching April was more than 30 minutes. The reason? They were posting comments and engaging with the conversations that were happening globally and therefore turning it into a shared live experience. Unlike other forms of media, this was not about consumption, it was about interaction.”
The YouTube content experience isn’t just about engaging with the conversation however.
The platform’s 200 million videos each day have been inspiring interactions that have crossed over into mainstream media time and again.
Take James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke for example. Singing in the car wasn’t invented by James Corden, in fact YouTubers have been posting this style of video for years. But when Corden copied the format, camera set-up and style of recording for his US talkshow, it made him YouTube’s top trending video on 2016 and is regularly watched by billions of viewers.
“The cycles of interaction we now see between mainstream media and content originally created for the web have blurred so much now that together they have merged to form a new type of pop culture,” says Allocca. “This represents a shift in entertainment, which will continue to evolve, reshaping the popular cultural trends of an entire generation and redefining the content of the future.”