Even as YouTube has focused on making itself a high-quality programming hub, YouTube's top 10 most viewed videos of 2011 proves that good old viral video still rules the Internet. Of the top 10 clips, only three are produced segments, while the rest fall under the classic do-it-yourself vids. Even though Youtube has made various moves to turn itself into more of a traditional content provider this past year, there's actually fewer professionally made clips on the service's most-viewed list: last year there were four.
Attempting to attract more advertising dollars from the gigantic television industry, in April the video service announced that it had set aside $100 million to invest in original content channels. By October it had launched 100 original content channels. And in November signed a deal with Disney.
But as YouTube has vamped up its efforts to produce higher quality content, the Internet has old-school YouTube loyalties. Most of 2011's popular videos are of that classic amateur genre, coming from novice video makers, as you can from this year's most watched videos below.
For those who don't recognize each thumbnail, Nos. 3 and 7 come from the Lonely Island comedy troupe (i.e. what Andy Sandberg did before he made it to Saturday Night Live). And No. 9 is that popular Darth Vader Volkswagen commercial that went viral even before it debuted during the Super Bowl. All the others come from the viral video category: Embarrassing amateur singers (1), impressive amateur singers (Numbers 6 and 8), cute animals (2 and 10) and babies (4).
YouTube grew by being the best place for people to show off their cute videos of cats and babies, and amateur uploaders are still its most reliable content producers. This is the Internet, after all. You can't manufacture stuff like this: