Pros dominate YouTube 2012 hits

2012-12-18 08:47
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San Francisco - Gangnam Style topped YouTube's list of the most attention-grabbing videos this year, as other professionally produced works outshined the amateur clips that had originally made the website famous.

"Almost everything on the list this year was created by professional or creative talent for an online audience," YouTube trends manager Kevin Allocca told AFP shortly before the results were released late on Monday.

"It's different from years ago, when homemade videos or random, funny stuff from smartphone cameras were the hits."

Music video Gangnam Style by South Korea's PSY became the most viewed YouTube video of all time and was on pace to log a billion views by the end of this year. The view count on Monday was slightly more than 971.5 million.

Second place was a Walk off the Earth music video, a rendition of a hit Gotye song featuring five people simultaneously performing on one guitar.

A Kony2012 video that was part of a viral campaign to bring accused Ugandan war criminal Joseph Kony to justice was the year's third-most attention-getting YouTube video.

The White House had praised the campaign, while a string of celebrities weighed in by tweeting links to the video and promoting the initiative by California-based non-profit group Invisible Children.

Kony2012 was reported to be the first cause-based video by a nonprofit to make YouTube's annual list of top videos.

While trends in Google searches provide insights into what people are interested in learning about, YouTube hits tend to be "a reflection of pop culture", according to Allocca.

Fourth place on the YouTube list went to a Call Me Maybe video in which stars, including Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez, ignited a lip-synching rage.

An Epic Rap Battles of History series episode that pitted a pretend Barack Obama against a Mitt Romney impersonator in a rap-powered debate came in fifth on the YouTube list.

The Top Ten list included a stunt in a Flemish town square to promote a television channel; "dubstep" violin by Lindsey Stirling; comedian Emmanuel Hudson; a father's reaction to his daughter's Facebook post; and Felix Baumgartner's free-fall from about 39km above the Earth.

YouTube is also seeing trends in how people are watching videos, with smartphones, tablets, and online social networks becoming preferred viewing venues, according to Allocca.

People watch more than four billion hours of video monthly at YouTube, according to the Google-owned video-sharing service.

Ratings for top videos factored in searches, remixes, parodies and other factors along with numbers of views.

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