YouTube, on December 14, 2020, has released their Culture & Trends Report which analyzes pop culture and reveals what’s behind the most interesting trends of 2020.
“Looking across the research it’s immediately clear that the events of the past year have accelerated existing trends while also spawning innovation in other areas,” said Kevin Allocca, Head of Culture and Trends of YouTube. “But most of the trends we’ve witnessed are really just evolutions in where people of all ages are turning to meet their changing needs.”
Included in YouTube’s Culture & Trends Report are the three key thematic areas “worth trying to understand in more depth.”
These key areas, as introduced Allocca, are the New Age of Content Creators, the Interactive Audience, and Adapting to Adversity. Together, these themes are about where we are and where our entertainment and cultural creativity is going.
Here’s a short video to give you an overview of the said key thematic areas:
3 Key Thematic Areas
The New Age of Content Creators
The first of the three key thematic areas is about the how the archetype of the content creator – what we think a creator should be, should look like, or should make content about – has evolved in a digital space where authenticity is among the things that matter.
Lived Experience and Things We Care About
According to YouTube’s very own Culture & Trends Manager, APAC, Ash Chang, the desire to produce content about lived experience and the things we care about has skyrocketed. And the global lockdown measures which has restricted our access to other people has something to do with it.
Creator Archetype has Evolved
Chang also revealed that the creator archetype has and evolved more than ever. A few examples are the bunch of senior creators and even very unique beauty vloggers who are gaining so much more attention than we think.
“Take for example the idea that “Seniors don’t make videos people want to watch.” Well, actually, they do,” discussed Culture & Trends Manager. “And we’ve seen as much in countries as diverse as Mexico, Germany, and Korea.”
Another example that he has given is the idea that “nobody wants to hear beauty creators talking about grisly murders.” You know he said? “Well, as it turns out, people do. They really do.” And the beauty vlogger who has gained enormous popularity this year by combining traditional beauty content and crime commentary is a vlogger from the US, Bailey Sarian.
Creators are Difficult to Categorize in 1 Genre
According to Chang, genre conventions and the lines between them are all breaking down. And a lot of people, 47% based on the data gathered by YouTube, agreed that their favorite content creators can be difficult to categorize in just one genre.
To have a picture of what content some of these content creators produce just image an unboxing video made ASMR or Math mixed with comedy or something else you wouldn’t know existed until you encounter one.
The Rise of VTubers
Some content creators these days aren’t even people. Sure there are those animals dominating the internet, but there’s also this new type of YouTuber called VTuber and they are already on the rise in Japan.
Based on a data presented by YouTube, VTuber views grew to over 1.5 Billion views per month by October 2020.
The Interactive Audience
YouTube also when through how audiences are seeking out opportunities to participate and find connection through content, and that’s what this key thematic area is all about.
We are Together Apart
Earnest Pettie, the Trends Insight Lead of YouTube said in a discussion that this year has challenged us to learn to be “together apart.” “And one area where we’ve seen that lesson take hold is in the behavior of audiences,” said Pettie.
With the creative tools and new real-time communication forums present these days, audiences are are already pursuing shared experiences. Take for example when Travis Scott held his virtual concert in Fortnite which was then attended by over 12 million fans. While some watched the concert within Fortine, there are also many who watched via creators’ live streams.
“The complex evolution of co-watching was also on display as sports events returned from hiatus this summer with fans locked out,” YouTube’s Trends Insight Lead further emphasized.
Games were Watched Online
There’s also a new game gained a spotlight this year. The game Among Us has generated a whopping 4 Billion views in September 2020 alone. Just think about how many zeros are there and it’s just amazing. And over 230 Million views, from the same month, were animation videos made by the people in the game’s audience.
The Power of Kpop Fans
Earnest Pettie also didn’t forget to make mention of the people who are perhaps among the most interactive audience out there – the Kpop fans.
“Kpop fans are savvy techtophiles, who organize themselves with the intent of breaking our 24-hour and premiere records, which they’ve done again, and again, and again,” described Pettie.
Brazilians Tuned in to Music Live Streams
Other than the ever-active Kpop fans, Brazilians have also been fond of tuning in to live streams that 84% of them said they have watched live streams this year.
Pettie explained that the Brazilian Government had been urging people to stay home and watch live streams, so doing so became an act of collective civic responsibility.
Many Participated in Activities
Commenting, liking, and live streaming videos online weren’t the only ways audience can show they they are into a certain content. YouTube data also showed that some people are truly active participating in some online activity such as content from the Body Coach TV which live streams family-friendly PE classes.
“40% say that they participated in an activity simultaneously while they watched a video online,” YouTube presented.
Adapting to Adversity
And finally, how digital media is evolving to help us face personal and societal adversities has also been explored and explained by Roya Zeitoune, the Lead of Culture & Trends Team based in London.
According to Roya, working from home is one of the countless ways that 2020 has been all about adapting to adversity. And some of the rest are sated below.
This year, citizens around the world called for racial justice more loudly than ever before. Along with the protests, YouTube also saw a surge in popularity of protest music. And a lot of people, 48%, say that they rely on online videos to show them new perspectives on cultural issues.
82%, on the other hand, have used YouTube in 2020 to learn to do things themselves such as gardening, baking, home improvement, and many others. There were also those teachers who were helping other teachers to adapt to remote routines.