Thursday, 24 November 2011

Video Sharing and the Viral Generation

From about a week now, all I hear from friends back home in India is Kolaveri Di. It is the latest viral sensation in India. It made me think about the lot that has happened over the recent years regarding the media and the internet.

In a well connected online world of today, it is easy for things to "go viral". Everyone wants to see what it is, wants to be a part of it, talks about it and shares it. The "like-comment-share" trio work together and in no time big numbers show up.

We come a long way from dial-up connections to this speedy internet world, full of social networking and social media combined with the power of video sharing sites. Everyone in online business want a video to "go viral". The logic is simple, more hits, more Ads, more revenue

                                 Charlie bit my finger: One of the most popular viral videos of all time

Not to forget, the viral video itself can be a planned advertising campaign! 

                                                                   Federer for Gillette

                                                                 Beckham for Pepsi
                                                                   Pietersen for Brylcreem

The concept of these numbers has changed the face of music industry. YouTube has made people like Justin Bieber global star overnight. Companies like Vevo are cashing in on this trend in quick time.

Even India has it's own YouTube star in Wilbur Sargunaraj. What the guy does may be funny as hell, but he is "the viral", he connects with people and he sells. (See the video for more!)

One big positive of this new phase in online world is, it has opened new frontiers for video making, specially for the amateur film makers. Users of video sharing websites are now categorizing and putting themselves in the appropriate web services. Vimeo is a good example of how a relatively new website can establish a substantial market share through user fragmentation. (It is very similar to YouTube, with mostly films from independent film makers and a lot less junk than YouTube).

One can also put forth a point that music industry has regressed over the years from good old rock and roll days on vinyl records to advertisement driven, factory-made stuff. But as the people are switching from many different forms of media to internet, so is the whole business of it. Over the years artists, media and the commerce have shaped up each other and one can't help but notice that "the viral generation" is both positively and negatively taking the media industry to an entirely different space.

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