Most of the time, viral online videos have a moment, or perhaps three, on the Internet, getting passed along and posted and watched by millions before subsiding into our hazy collective pop-culture sinkhole.
Now, those hot-for-a-minute moments have a chance to remain valuable for years to come, at least to a set of collectors of a specific aesthetic bent.
Views, a new venture from long-time online-video distributor Jukin Media and influencer talent managers Night Media, hopes to become a place where videos that became famous in one tech gold rush (the rise of YouTube and other online-video services) can now become collectible in another (the NFT boom).
Views will “mint” and auction collectible blockchain-backed versions of videos such as the one where a Millennial dismisses an older generation’s complaints with an “OK Boomer” shrug, or a very focused New York subway rat heroically hauls a huge slice of pizza down stairs, or an anesthesia-addled boy tries to talk to his parents after a dentist visit.
“YouTube videos such as David After Dentist, Pizza Rat, or OK Boomer are some of the most important pieces of internet history,” said Night Media President Ezra Cooperstein. “We envision Views will become the go-to NFT platform for creators and fans to celebrate these iconic videos.”
Jukin, based in Culver City, Calif., has long specialized in scooping up such videos for its library of holdings, then licensing them to news organizations, Hollywood shows and other outlets.
The company also has its own thriving channels showcasing (and monetizing) such videos, including FailArmy, which will contribute content to the first tranches of auctioned videos. Jukin, which has a library of more than 65,000 viral video clips, also programs for partners in linear TV with traditionally structured shows featuring the best of online video, an update of early MTV and America’s Funniest Home Videos for the Internet age.
“Since our founding, Jukin Media has set out to give everyday video creators the power to monetize and protect their content,” said Jukin founder and CEO Jon Skogmo. “These viral videos represent some of the biggest cultural moments on the internet, and now Views will bring together multiple generations of creators for the industry’s next frontier.”
Night Media represents a group of notable online-video creators, led by MrBeast (Jimmy McDonald) who has built an audience of 60 million subscribers on YouTube, and generates more than 500 million views on his main channel there. His videos won’t be part of the initial drop of content on Views, but are expected to become part of the offerings in the future. Other Night Media clients include ZHC, Moriah Elizabeth, and Matt Stonie.
Views is only the latest iteration of a gold rush hitting most corners of the creative world, from fine art to music to photography. News organizations are even getting into the game, turning their coverage of some of biggest stories over the years into NFTs.
NFTs – non-fungible tokens – have become a white-hot sector among creators and artists hoping to use the blockchain-based technology to drive more revenue, exert more control of their creations, and even enjoy a cut of sales in secondary markets.
The heat around NFTs in social media hasn’t just been on YouTube or in discussion rooms on audio app Clubhouse, according to figures compiled by online-metrics company Tubular Labs. The top NFT-related videos on Twitter:
- Elon Musk: I’m selling this song about NFTs as an NFT (13.4 million views)
- Crypto.com: It’s Up! @boygeorge presents “YOUR TOKEN BOY” (9.2 million)
- Saturday Night Live: What the hell’s an NFT (3.5 million)
- Crypto.com: Sound On: Get Your Dogecoins ready! (3.3 million)
- Crypto.com: Own the Culture You Love. New NFTs from @Bosslogic dropping Friday (2.7 million)
Tubular also compiled the biggest NFT-related creators on Twitter. The Saturday Night Live video that popped into this list, is an amusing song/explainer video about how cryptocurrency and NFTs work, featuring cast members Pete Davidson and Chris Redd and hip hop star Jack Harlow. It also drew 2.8 million views on YouTube.
Here’s the list of biggest NFT-related video creators:
- Crypto.com (18.0 million views, 21 videos)
- Elon Musk (13.4 million views, 1 video)
- Saturday Night Live (3.5 million views, 1 video)
- McDonald’s France (1.8 million views, 2 videos)
- Grimes (1.3 million views, 1 video)