A decade ago, the most common place where people flocked to satisfy their thirst for audio visual content was in front of the television set. The more channels one had, the more freedom there was to choose what you can watch. Thus, the content was also limited by the number of channels available. But since YouTube’s launch ten years ago, Filipinos’ watching behavior has changed, even as watchable content has become immensely diverse. We are living in the golden age of online content with the amount of variety that’s become available to us everyday, with more than 300 hours of videos uploaded to YouTube every minute.
Now at YouTube’s 10th birthday, we look back on how Filipinos have consumed videos over the past decade, and what types of content have become our most memorable videos.
In the Philippines, content ranging from groundbreaking music videos to short viral videos that made people laugh and tugged at their heartstrings have become memorable, if not iconic. In a country like ours influenced by the Western culture, who would have thought that K-Pop would become so popular with Psy’s Gangnam Style leading the trend? This became the first YouTube video to reach one billion views and has been the most-watched video globally since its upload in 2012. I Got A Boy, a hit from another K-Pop sensation, Girls’ Generation, won Video of the Year at the YouTube Music Awards in 2013 and is another one of the more memorable YouTube videos in the Philippines, even if most Filipinos can’t even speak the language.
Filipino content creators won’t be left behind, though, as they produced videos that captured the local viewers’ fancy. Abra’s tongue-in-cheek music video Gayuma and the equally hilarious, though slightly cringeworthy amateur rap video Dota o Ako both went viral the first few weeks they were uploaded in 2012 and 2011, respectively. Apart from witty rap songs, Filipinos have been drawn to love songs like Nasa Iyo Na Ang Lahat by heartthrob singer and actor Daniel Padilla and Ikaw by Yeng Constantino. Ikaw is not just another love song, but a video peppered with candid shots of Yeng and her fiancé—an authentic romance that Filipinos were drawn to. For Filipinos, authenticity is really important in a world with massive variety of content.
Children are often the stars of the memorable videos we watched, such as in ABS-CBN’s Christmas Station ID for 2014 Thank You, Ang Babait Ninyo, performed by The Voice Kids Top 4. Another iconic video, commonly referred to as just ‘Charlie bit my finger’ or ‘Charlie bit me’, Charlie bit my finger - again! captured our hearts in 2007 with the young duo’s adorable brotherly antics. While not starred by kids, Disney’s Frozen soundtrack Let It Go has become one of the most loved videos by Filipinos, young and old. Its sing-along version is considered one of the most memorable videos on YouTube, which is not surprising considering that it has also become one of the most globally recorded Disney songs.
Apart from entertainment, meaningful content are also noteworthy and unforgettable for Filipinos. At a time when more and more women are rising to lead in businesses, Pantene Philippines’ Labels Against Women commercial inspired international discussion for its message against double standards in the workplace. The video empowered women with the taglines ”Don’t let labels hold you back” and “Be strong and shine”. Who can forget the impact this video generated with powerful women including Sheryl Sandberg praising the Pantene ad.
The past ten years have shown a diverse set of our most memorable videos, which reflects the massive variety of content that’s available to us. They also show the richness of the Filipino choices when it comes to media consumption.
In the next ten years, we hope to see more content creators get even more creative and produce a lot of content as more Filipinos go online. If the last decade was any indication, we’ll witness another evolution in how Filipinos consume videos, from desktops to smartphones, while we continue to clamor for more of what we love -- funny, entertaining, authentic, meaningful, and heartwarming videos, from foreign hits to local sensations.