youtube revolution, the
What’s the most-watched but least-advertised film of the year? No, it has nothing to do with a white witch, an impossible mission, or a murderous albino monk. In fact, the more than three million people who’ve viewed the film never paid for a ticket. That’s because the blockbuster little film, Brokeback to the Future, is just over two minutes long and debuted on the hot viral-video Web site YouTube.com.
Brokeback to the Future was created by two Emerson College buddies who stayed up late one night editing together scenes from all three original Back to the Future films-their recut version suggests the relationship between Marry McFIy and mad scientist Dr. Emmett Brown was a little more Brokeback-y than we knew. It’s basically a glorified fake trailer-but nevertheless, it’s a poster child for the quickest revolution in popular entertainment…ever.
In less than a year, the upstart YouTube has nuked the America’s Funniest Home Videos idea into a blistering online phenomenon-it’s drawing close to 10 million unique visitors every month and shows more than 40 million uploaded video clips a day, most of which are popular only because they’re so incredibly strange, arcane, or accidentally funny.
A case in point: One of the superstars of YouTube is Nornna, a 24-year-old woman who lives in Wassau, Wisconsin. Some of Nornna’s 800-or-so uploaded video clips have been viewed more than 50,000 times. What’s Nornna doing on the clips that’s attracting so many fans? Well, you can watch her making a peanutbutter-and-jelly sandwich, powdering her feet, missing her bus, watching movies, or generally marching through her quiet, slow, boring life.
Fans of Nornna’s anti-antics are so devoted they started videotaping themselves watching Nornna videos, then uploading their Nornna-watching clips to YouTube. With such a vast landscape of mostly forgettable videos to ride herd over, the YouTube folks keep busy pulling the plug on salacious clips or copyrightinfringing bootlegs of TV shows and movies. Uploads to the site are so white-hot it’s hard to imagine the whole thing won’t come crashing down under the weight of its own cultural “It” moment. But with an average visitor-visit of 15 minutes, it can’t be long before the Kings and Queens of YouTube-land get rich off their “accidental metroplex.”
Copyright Group Publishing, Inc. Jul/Aug 2006
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