Web Video Clips and Viral Videos

(YouTube, Vimeo, Dailymotion, etc.)

Video Clips

Video Clips are segments of media files containing video, audio, graphics and sometimes animation that are often part of a longer recording or existing media, but the term is also loosely used to mean any short video less than the length of a traditional television program, mainly found on the Internet.  While some video clips are taken from established media sources, various company, community and individual-produced video clips are more common today than ever.  Such video clips often show moments of significance, humor, oddity, or prodigy performance.  Sources for video clips include news, movies, music video and amateur video that's been shot.

The use of the Internet continues to grow exponentially, and with it is the widespread popularity of online Video Clips.  With the aid of new distribution channels, they have evolved into what is known as "clip culture".  Clip culture, in comparison to the "lean-back" experience of viewing traditional high-budget movies and TV shows, refers to the Internet activity of sharing and viewing a short video, usually less than 15 minutes in length.  The culture began with the development of high-speed broadband Internet service, and has seen a giant boom in popularity since 2005 when websites with the sole purpose of free uploading and viewing of video clips emerged on the market.  Such sites including Shockinghumor, YouTube, Google Video, MSN Video and Yahoo! Video were the main examples of these.  In addition to clips recorded by high-quality camcorders, it has become more common to produce clips with digital cameras, webcams, and mobile phones.  Between March and July 2006, YouTube alone grew from 30 to 100 million views of videos per day!  By mid-2006 there were tens of millions of video clips available online, and many established and corporate sites began adding Video Clip content to their websites.  While most Video Clip content is non-exclusive and available on competing sites, some companies will have videos produced only for their websites.

Viral Videos

A Viral Video is a Video Clip that becomes popular through the rapid spread of Internet sharing, typically through video sharing websites, social media, blog repostings, and email.  Now that most mobile devices include a video camera, the creation of online video is becoming easier as video sharing sites and viral videos become increasingly common.  Simply put, a viral video is a video clip that elicits a strong enough emotion or reaction from a group of people that they feel compelled to share it with others.  There is no set formula for creating a Viral Video, but many successful ones share a quick pace and near-instant payoff as far as the first laugh that hooks people into watching the entire video.  Viral Videos can receive millions of views and a video is considered viral if it is viewed 10,000 times – within a certain time frame – say a few hours or days.

In today’s digitally connected world, a house cat can become a media mogul with an audience of millions in just 24 hours. So can you potentially.  Free distribution to millions of viewers not only builds audiences, but it also gets coveted media buzz.  Viral videos draw news stories, features on tabloids, and sometimes even get awards.  Social channels chatter endlessly about viral sensations, and entire marketing campaigns can be launched from a successful Video Clip that goes viral.  Viral Videos are the result of a unique blend of science, art, and luck.  

Most Viral Videos fall into 3 broad categories:

1) Unintentional Viral Videos: Videos where the creators had no intentions for them to go viral.  These videos may have been posted by the creator or shared with friends, who then spread the content to others.

Examples of unintentional viral videos include:

    •    Numa Numa Dance
    •    Star Wars Kid
    •    Epic Fail
    •    Don't Tase Me, Bro!

2) Humorous Viral Videos: Videos that have been created specifically to entertain people -- if a video is funny enough, it will spread.

Examples of humorous viral videos include:

    •    "Lazy Sunday", "I'm On a Boat" and "Jack Sparrow" by Lonely Island
    •    "Evolution of Dance" by Judson Laipply
    •    "Charlie the Unicorn" by Type Queen of Newgrounds.com

3) Promotional Viral Videos: Videos that are designed to go viral with a marketing message to raise brand awareness.  Promotional Viral Videos fall under viral marketing practices.

Examples of promotional viral videos include:
    •    Terry Tate, Office Linebacker (Reebok)
    •    Young Darth Vader (Volkswagen)
    •    The Man Your Man Could Smell Like (Old Spice)

Most Viral Videos are at least one of 4 things in nature:

1) "Parody"* or "Spoof" (e.g. celebrity impersonations, remakes of movie scenes, music videos, or other current pop culture)

2) "Cute" (e.g. cat or baby videos)

3) "Funny" (e.g. cat or baby videos, people doing something silly, or something gone terribly wrong (“Fail” videos))

4) "Did that just happen?" (e.g. "Fail" videos or any videos that have Shock Value**)

*A Parady is defined as an imitative work created to mock, comment on or trivialize an original work, its subject, author, style, or some other target, by means of satiric or ironic imitation.

**Shock Value is defined as something that deliberately, rather than inadvertently, startles and offends its audience by violating norms for social values and personal ideals.

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