Thursday this week will mark 500 days since the YouTube team officially released global support for 360° video content (statement here).
Following that announcement, content creators from all over the world were encouraged to test the limit and try out this strange but promising new way of shooting film, and stitching it together again, surgically placing the viewer directly into the film. We’ve seen incredible uses of 360° video in medical technology and education, and the wave keeps building momentum. Riding that same tech-wave, Facebook followed soon after, on September 23rd, and not much later, the impressive new 360° video platform VRideo began to make headlines too.
In homage to the past 500 days of amazing content, here’s our list of the most popular videos of 2016. Each one of these gorgeous clips has accumulated more than 3 million views this year.
February 2018 Update: Our 2017 version is live! Check out what’s new here. As we make our way through this year, we’ll build up a brand-new list. Keep an eye out!
Top 10 Most Viewed 360° Videos of 2016
While you might assume that major brands like AT&T, Faebook or Coca Cola would dominate the list – these Kingsize brands are few and far between in today’s roundup.
10. Visit the Philippines Again 360° Video
With a tagline: “Have a world of adventures in the philippines”, the expectations are set high in this ad for Cebu Pacific Air, a Philippine low-cost airline based on the grounds of Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
Providing you with an insights into the many things you could be doing, the ad is extremely effective. It introduces you to kayak-sailing across sapphire eastern waters, and sends you windsurfing with a selfie-stick, all in glorious 360° 4K video.
Published on: Feb 23, 2016
View Count: 3,121,078
Like / Dislike Ratio: 894 / 16 (Very Favorable)
Views / Day: 20,266
9. VIVID || Virgin Media || VIVID 360 Party
We all know that Virgin Media is a corporate Behemoth, so it’s no surprise that a 360° tour of one of their house parties was a big hit when it appeared on YouTube on Mar 29, 2016. Usually, the videos we see hit the big numbers pack some kind of entertainment value more potent than just a party at the Virgin house so to speak, but back in 2016, the VR videos that were available on YouTube were slim pickings, so the fact that this one isn’t packed to the brim with high-end visual fidelity and special effects, is perfectly okay with us. Good for you Virgin Media!
Published on: Mar 29, 2016
View Count: 3,207,048
Like / Dislike Ratio: 934 / 545 (Favorable)
Views / Day: 26,949
8. 360 | How Far | Australia | Expedia
“How Far” is a strikingly beautiful ad from Expedia, showcasing some gorgeous Australian destination. Some of the destinations that you can experience in full 360° video includes the following:
- Three Capes Track
- Karratha Station
- Ningaloo Reef
- The Outback
All of these destinations are gorgeous and pristine landscapes. If you ever get the chance to visit Australia, do try to make time to see it all in the real world. VR videos from 2016 can only give you so much. Still, it’s worth checking out, and is hauntingly beautiful!
Published on: Jun 16, 2016
View Count: 3,472,203
Like / Dislike Ratio: 584 / 6 (Very Favorable)
Views / Day: 86,805
7. The Conjuring 2 – Experience Enfield VR 360 [HD]
NSFW. If you’re anything like us, you do appreciate a good scare every now and then. “The Conjuring 2” managed to bring some of the internet’s first real scary experiences to the table. It’s dark, gloomy and brings that paranoid feeling to you over the course of just a few minutes. Great video, although we got to say that if you have a phobia for the occult, nuns who jump at you all of a sudden or a messy household – you might want to skip this one.
Horror is incredibly popular, and and has really cracked into the VR market over the last few years. The Conjuring is a franchise known for building on the traditional elements of horror, and (thankfully) doesn’t rely too much on blood and gore to be effective. These VR videos just need some playful use of lights and shadow.
Published on: May 20, 2016
View Count: 4,544,078
Like / Dislike Ratio: 18,519 / 1,354 (Very Favorable)
Views / Day: 67,822
6. TYPOWA LEKCJA J.POLSKIEGO (360°)
Loosely (Google) translated from Polish, the name of this 360° video experience is “Typical Lesson”. In this video you follow the narrative of a provocative High School student, being a bit of a nuisance in the face of an obnoxius and loud-mouthed teacher.
Given that Polish is not a strongsuit here at the team, and the ending indicates that this could go on to become a tad too NSFW for us to discuss in detail, we’ll end this one here.
Published on: Feb 9, 2016
View Count: 4,722,122
Like / Dislike Ratio: 100,027 / 7,821 (Very Favorable)
Views / Day: 28,107
5.İnsan – Sevgililer Günü (360° Video)
The Turkish band, Insan has taken on some 360° video in one of their recent music videos: “Sevgililer Günü”. Not much more to say here than: “Well done”. Ranking online in the music industry can be quite a feat, and accomplishment to pull off. Doing so through the help of immersive media is another thing altogether. Well done for sure!
Published on: Feb 13, 2016
View Count: 5,328,663
Like / Dislike Ratio: 3,122 / 672 (Favorable)
Views / Day: 32,491
4. Great White Sharks 360 Video 4K!! – Close encounter on Amazing Virtual Dive
Face off against one of the most ancient and renowned beasts of our time. Ever since the sharks from Jaws hit cinema-fame in the late 1900’s, there has been a widespread shark-fear in bays and beaches across the world. Thankfully, this encounter you don’t have to get wet to try!
Sharks and diving in dangerous waters is by no means a new trend in virtual reality. There’s a good reason why games such as TheBlu, Ocean Rift as well as the “Shark Attack” from PlayStation’s VR Worlds is so popular. Since VR videos gives you the means to be transported anywhere, there’s just a natural tendency to start off with the unique and the dangerous .
Published on: Jan 7, 2016
View Count: 5,609,489
Like / Dislike Ratio: 13,976 / 1,384 (Very Favorable)
Views / Day: 26,711
3. The BMW M2 – Eyes on Gigi Hadid (360° Video)
BMW USA challenges you to a game of sight. The rules are simple. Keep your eyes on Gigi Hadid, the beautiful woman racing a flagship M2 BMW. The video starts with her walking towards one of five brand-new vehicles, and swings the door open. From there, your objective is to keep watching her and not lose track, in this gorgeously color graded 360°, 4K video.
Note: The original video has been taken down, so the following video is a replicated version. Thankfully, the video is still just as gorgeous as ever, so strap in, and keep your eyes on Gigi!
Published on: Apr 18, 2016
View Count: 5,524,929
Like / Dislike Ratio: 18,555 / 6,720 (Favorable)
Views / Day: 55,807
2. Mega Coaster: Get Ready for the Drop (360 Video)
Mega Coaster, the massive cream-machine that appears on a video by the Discovery Channel, raises you 157 feet only to hurl you through one of the most enticing and crazy rides you can imagine. In fact, thanks to 360° video, all you have to do is strap on your HMD / GearVR right now, and check it out yourself. Even though there are plenty of simulations in today’s VR applications that puts you through rides of some sort or another, this is a classic worthy of remembrance!
Published on: Mar 13, 2016
View Count: 8,522,403
Like / Dislike Ratio: 18,709 / 1,853 (Very Favorable)
Views / Day: 63,128
1. Dubai. Here you are – Dubai 360 Video
With a whopping 13.9 million views , our #1 on the list is the “Here you are” ad for Visit Dubai. In this ad you’re taken through a day in beautiful Dubai in 360° video. The visuals are impressive and the destinations well thought-out. What’s the most impressive about this video though, is that it seems to have spread like wildfire. With that being said, its gorgeous architecture and panning video capture does give this VR video a kind of competitive edge. Great video!
Published on: Jun 7, 2016
View Count: 13,962,421
Like / Dislike Ratio: 9,642 / 2,760 (Favorable)
Views / Day: 284,947
Special Mention: Volcanos by ZDF Enterprises GmbH
While browsing the Samsung VR Video app earlier this year, we stumbled across a VR video that without a doubt is one of the most impressive displays of technology in the immersive genre. It has it all. Fire, brimstone, visuals that would make Avatar look like a muppet show.
Volcanos is an educational VR video that takes you through the history of some of the world’s greatest volcanos, and while doing so, rocks your socks off by presenting you with breathtaking scenery and special effects.
Note: If you would like to learn more about utilizing virtual reality for education, head over an read our piece about VR in education.
Influential Brands Utilising 360° Video
For story-telling, this technology has become an interesting choice, and Influential brands from all around the world are starting to get a hang of how to properly pull it off. To give you a few honorable mentions, not highlighted in our list:
- Red Bull’s “Barnstorm Experience“
- Discovery Channel’s “Lion’s Last Stand“
- IGN’s epic “Giant Nerf Battle in 360 Degrees“
- Walt Disney’s “Through Mowgli’s Eyes“
These videos are all from massive influencers in large corporations, but are only a small drop of water in a vast ocean of content. If you combine this massive influx of videos with the fact that as of the time of writing these words, YouTube’s dedicated 360° video channel has more than 1.4 million subscribers – it looks like the future of storytelling is in capable hands.
We do realize that there’s quite some time until 2017. Stay tuned as we’ll update the content by the end of the year with an additional 40 videos, so we finish the year with the most elaborate list on the web!
We can’t wait to keep you up-to-date on the latest trends and technologies. Stay tuned!