Hey, I know that monkey!

Ransom Riggs

After today, I'm imposing a self-moratorium on blogs about monkeys and the internet, despite the many letters, text messages and e-cards I've received urging me to continue mining this admittedly deep vein. (Thank you, faceless Blogospherians, I am humbled by your enthusiasm.) But this, I just had to share. Many of you may be aware of the little website that could: YouTube. For those of you who are not, YouTube is a video hosting website that

  • Was only started in December 2005, but is already the 13th most popular website on the internet, according to Alexa.com.
  • So popular is it -- with more than 100 million videos viewed, and 65,000 added, per day -- that major trad-media TV networks have approached YouTube to forge content-sharing agreements, and even apologized for a few of the copyright infringment lawsuits it slapped on them earlier this year. (Who's your daddy, CBS?)
  • Although estimates of YouTube's value are pretty much entirely speculative, that's not stopping anyone from speculating. CNET and the New York Post guess it could be worth between $650 million and $2 billion.

So what drives this burgeoning media empire? Anyone who's performed more than a cursory exploration of the site will tell you: videos of baby animals falling asleep, bums fighting, and the desperately lonely videoblogging about either of the aforementioned. Anyway, point is: the sister of a guy who acted in a film I made owns the baby monkey who is by far the most popular animal-falling-asleep on YouTube (something like a million people have seen it), which puts it in the running to be the internet's most celebrated animal. And while "Sleepy Baby Monkey Named Mercutio" may not sweep next year's Oscars, don't be surprised if by then it's been seen by more people than whichever arthouse indie which inevitably takes home the little golden guy.

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