The pandemic has led to a lot of changes in how people behave. Many of us are now left wondering, “What should we take away for the future? What was just a product of the moment, and what’s going to continue to matter?”
One way of answering these questions is to turn to YouTube, a platform on which many of these changes play out and where people are watching more videos than ever, particularly on TV screens. That’s exactly what a team of YouTube trends analysts did when they created the YouTube Culture and Trends Report.
In it, they explore the viewership, content, and creative trends that have emerged around the world over the past year. What they found repeatedly pointed to one thing: the increasing indispensability of video in people’s lives, primarily for a sense of connection. Here’s more about what they learned.
Lesson 1: Live and simultaneous viewing help people gain a sense of community
As countries around the world went into lockdown, the small connections that made people feel part of a community — the random chat with a stranger at a mutual friend’s wedding, the banter with other fans while watching your sports team play — all but disappeared.
It’s not surprising, then, that people turned to online video to fill this gap. Watching videos with others, whether physically or in the virtual world, heightens immediacy, generating a stronger sense of connection.
We saw this trend play out in the explosion of live stream events, as viewers continued to seek out ways to be together. In fact, 85% of people have watched a live stream over the past 12 months,1 including events like weddings on the collective Korean channel Wootso and NASA’s Perseverance rover landing on Mars, which garnered more than 2 million peak concurrent viewers and 22 million all-time playbacks.2