Chewbacca Mom Karaoke is Most Popular Video in the World — for May

I made a website a few months ago called The site uses YouTube’s api to get the current top-trending video from YouTube and puts it on the homepage of my site. It’s fun and simple and people get it — a single place to see the current most viral video. Check it out for yourself if you haven’t already — this article will make more sense if you do.

I started wondering how long any one of these videos held on to the number one spot. A few minutes? A few days? I began collecting data about each of the top videos and now have about a month’s worth of info. Here are some of the numbers, charts, and insights from looking at a month’s worth of YouTube’s top videos!

Percentage of videos that were indie(red) or corporate(blue)

There were 66 videos that held the top spot of “most popular in the world”. Over half (54.5%) were produced by ‘corporate media’ which I define as any YouTube account that is owned or managed by a larger media entity (e.g., Last Week Tonight, owned by HBO). The opposite of this would be original YouTube content creators whom as far as I know have no relationship with any larger media companies.

Percentage of time that the most popular was an indie(red) or corporate(blue)

Non-corporate creators produced 4 hours and 26 minutes of video which resulted in 296 hours and 55 minutes of most popular content. Corporate content did slightly better with 3 hours and 26 minutes of created video and holding the number one spot for about 495 hours.

Corporate Produced Content

Let’s look at who did best in the blue section of that pie. Comcast comes out on top with 27 percent of the corporate time, or about 134 hours, of time in the number one video slot, split across nine different videos. This is NBC content with SNL, Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon, The Voice, Ellen, and America’s Got Talent videos locking down 5.5 days at the number one spot.

Second place goes to CBS and Sumner Redstone’s National Amusements. It’s primarily the Late Late Show with James Corden carrying them with 92 hours at number one across three videos. All of the videos are “Carpool Karaoke” segments, The most popular of which is with “Chewbacca Mom” which sat at the number one spot for 41 hours. This also makes it the overall most popular video of the month.

Next up is HBO, owned by Time/Warner. John Oliver is killing it here in the Sunday to Monday most-popular-video time slot. If you want to get to number one on YouTube, I recommend not releasing your video on Monday morning while Last Week Tonight is still in season. Most weeks start out looking like this…

…with NBC’s Saturday Night Live grudgingly relinquishing its crown to Last Week.

How is Nintendo essentially tied with Time/Warner with 60 hours? They got there with two promo teasers for a new Pokemon game. These two videos put them just a half hour behind HBO’s Last Week Tonight and Game of Thrones. Gotta catch em’ all!

That’s about it for a month of tracking the big media brands. Below you can find the rest of the big companies and how much time they spent at the top.

Percentage of time by corporation at number 1

Independent Produced Content

First off, let’s give a huge hand to the indies! After seeing the production and promotion that goes into the media giant’s videos, it’s truly amazing what the indies are accomplishing.

If you don’t think that’s just a tiny bit cool you just earned yourself the title ‘hater’.

At the top of the chart is the one-man media empire known as @CaseyNeistat. He leads the indies in both number of number ones as well as amount of time at number one with four unique videos at number one last month. Only one major media property can beat that(John Oliver with five). Casey’s brand of video is a mix of aspirational and inspirational and always a good time.

Next up, with 40 hours at the most watched spot is Good Mythical Morning, a daily morning talk show. These guys have a great flow and conversational tone with some really fun wordplay like the best morning radio DJs. The main difference is that these guys are actually friendly and charming. Production values here are pretty slick with great graphics and a small but really well-appointed set. You want to hang out on the set with these dudes.

OK! ERB, or Epic Rap Battles, locked down the number three spot with three different videos giving them 35 hours of viewing, and they are great! If you only have time for one video from this doc, I recommend Frederick Douglass vs Thomas Jefferson. Again, really solid graphics and production values. The raps are incredibly well thought-out. Suggesting teaching kids history through more contemporary mediums like rap or hiphop can feel like a comedy trope but these videos 100% dispel that trope!

This little birdie is a wrecking ball!

Next comes Radiohead. I originally had them under corporate, forgetting that they have been label-less for several years now. They released a new music video for the first single from their new album and it shot to the top of YouTube like a bullet. There is a part of me that doesn’t want to call this indie because it is a beautiful, big-budget video, but they are doing it on their own so they stay in the indie category. Well done. I think if you are aware of an imminent Radiohead video release, you might want to re-plan your own release schedule accordingly. Twenty-eight solid hours at number one for this lovely video.

I wish I had the space to talk about each indie video but this is already getting long so i’ll take one more paragraph to quickly highlight a few other indie favorites. Hydraulic Press Channel crushes stuff with, you guessed it, a hydraulic press — click to find out why this was the top-trending video for 12 hours. R2D2 Screaming Door does what it says. It was a big month for hydraulics! I have no idea how this screen capture of an ancient Letterman segment made it back into circulation, but it was the most watched thing for exactly 6 hours on May 28! If anyone knows why, please comment.

All the indie content in one pie!

Summing It Up

Finally, some random notes and thoughts I had while working on this. The original Chewbacca Mom took off as a Facebook viral video. It exists on YouTube but just as a copy and never went viral or made it into the trending videos. But the follow-up video produced by the Late Late Show with James Corden was the longest-trending video this month and probably had CBS execs yelling “This is worth every penny!.”

There were a few trailers that broke into the top spot for a bit but not enough to stand out. Call of Duty was on top for 9 hours while Battlefield held the spot for the third longest with nearly 33 consecutive hours of viewing.

Shoutout to Disney with 25 hours for the Beauty and the Beast remake teaser. I missed the original animated film so I actually Googled “Be our guest” to figure out what the heck was going on. That’s pretty effective marketing!

As the saying goes, no news is good news and barely a hint of anything you could call news slipped into the top slot. The closest thing would be a phone video of the gorilla Harambe, which was number one for about 20 hours. It makes me too sad to post it. I’m sure you have seen it already.

May’s Winners

This month’s individual big winners are James Corden and Casey Neistat for taking the top slots and John Oliver for consistently dominating one entire day of the week every week. Comcast wins total number of hours in the top spot and they worked hard for it with nine unique number one videos across five channels.

The data continues to flow in and I hope to continue digging through it and pulling out more curious data points from it for the month of June. If you found this interesting, please send it to friends or drop me a note or both. If you have questions about any of the data, I’ll try my best to answer.

That’s a look back on a month’s worth of the most popular videos on YouTube and on Please share this or visit the site to watch some of the world’s most popular videos! That two hour University of Chicago video is a 1.5 hour detailed interview with Jon Stewart sandwiched between the all-mighty crushing power of his former protégé John Oliver.

Out of the way Stewart

This is a link to a giant interactive pie chart of the entire month and every video at number one! Enjoy!