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Viral Power Defining Video Era January 3, 2010

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in News, Web Video, YouTube.
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YouTube is redefining the new era of online video and demonstrating the viral power of the Web. Home-made clips and videos produced on a shoestring uploaded to the video-sharing site have gone viral and bathed their producers in the glorious glow of stardom.

A video-maker from Uruguay who produced a short film with US$300 and uploaded it to YouTube in November has been offered a US$30m contract to make a Hollywood movie.

The film “Ataque de Panico!” (Panic Attack!) by Fede Alvarez features giant robots invading Montevideo, capital of Uruguay. It impressed director Sam Raimi, whose credits include the Spiderman and Evil Dead films, to offer to sponsor Alvarez to produce a Hollywood movie.

Then there’s Justin Bieber, the 15-year-old singing sensation from Stratford, Ontario who has taken the pop music world by storm. Justin was discovered when he posted a video of himself singing at a talent contest when Scooter Braun, a talent hungry record industry manager in Atlanta spotted him.

Braun wanted to make his mark in the music business by finding the next Michael Jackson. When he saw Bieber’s home-made video, he knew he had found something special. Pop celebrities Usher and Justin Timberlake saw star potential and pursued the youngster to sign a record deal.

Braun negotiated a deal with Usher as co-executive producer for Bieber’s debut CD ‘My World’ which immediately became the top ranked album in Canada when it was released in November. In the U.S., My World hit the Billboard charts with 4 songs on the Top 20. His video, One Time, has been viewed more than one hundred million times on the Web.

In Russia, a migrant worker from Tajikistan became an unlikely singing sensation last year after entertaining fellow workers in his spare time with his fave Bollywood songs. Baimurat Allaberiyev came to Russia, like hundreds of thousands of his compatriots, to work on construction sites to support a family of six back at home.

His friends filmed him on a mobile phone singing in Hindi while dancing and drumming on cardboard boxes and anything that came to hand. The video went on YouTube and Baimurat, now “Jimmy”, became an instant hit.

A producer has signed a contract with Jimmy and hopes to launch his career in world music, with a repertoire of Afghan, Central Asian, Russian and Hindi songs. It remains to be seen whether these Web phenomena have staying-power after the hype dies down.

YouTube recently revealed the most watched videos of 2009. Scottish singing sensation Susan Boyle’s debut appearance on “Britain’s Got Talent” was the most popular video, garnering over 120 million views

In second place, with more than 37 million views, was a video of a disorientated seven-year-old boy recovering from dental work. David After Dentist was posted by the child’s father after his son had surgery to remove a tooth in 2008. Within a week the video had amassed more than five million views and had become a viral hit.

Third place went to JK Wedding Entrance Dance, which showed an convoluted dance routine featuring members of their entourage just before their wedding. It attracted over 37 million views and attention from Sony, which owned the rights to the Chris Brown song that provided the soundtrack to the video. The firm placed a link next to the video allowing people to buy the song and also shared profits from sales of advertisements on the site.

YouTube, which is owned by Google, serves up around a billion videos every week. It makes money through selling advertising around the videos, most of which are uploaded by users. However, the site now also offers short videos from international broadcasters and is reported to be in talks with movie studios to licence content.

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