YouTube is known for its collection of funny videos, viral ones, trailers, music videos and general entertainment. But that might be changing right now, as it's increasingly becoming a platform for news.
Between January 2011 to March 2012, the most searched for term on YouTube were related to news events according to a Pew Research Center report released Monday.
The most visited videos concerned natural disasters or political upheaval since videos with "intense visuals" tend to perform best, according to Pew. The Japanese earthquake and tsunami was the most popular news event on the video network, the 20 most-viewed videos related to the tragedy were viewed more than 96 million times.
Then there was the elections in Russia and unrest in Middle East becoming the second and third most popular news topics.
Unlike much of the rest of the YouTube, personalities did not play a large role in a video’s success; no one person was featured in more than 5% of the most popular videos in the “News & Politics” section of YouTube between January 2011 and March 2012.
The median video length was 2 minutes and 1 second, far longer than the average segment on local TV news, which is 41 seconds.
A little more than half (51%) came from news organizations, and thirty nine percent of the most viewed videos came from citizens. Five percent came from corporate and political groups, and the sources of the remaining five percent could not be identified.
Pew notes, “a complex, symbiotic relationship has developed between citizens and news organizations on YouTube, a relationship that comes close to the continuous journalistic ‘dialogue’ many observers predicted would become the new journalism online.”
Many normal folk are creating and posting their own videos from their "news" perspective so much that news organizations, in turn, are including citizen-produced content in their own reporting.