YouTube cancels Rewind annual trend-recap video for 2020
This year would've marked the 10th anniversary of YouTube Rewind, but Google's video giant said it would take a break in 2020.
Joan E. SolsmanFormer Senior Reporter
Joan E. Solsman was CNET's senior media reporter, covering the intersection of entertainment and technology. She's reported from locations spanning from Disneyland to Serbian refugee camps, and she previously wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. She bikes to get almost everywhere and has been doored only once.
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Three Folio Eddie award wins: 2018 science & technology writing (Cartoon bunnies are hacking your brain), 2021 analysis (Deepfakes' election threat isn't what you'd think) and 2022 culture article (Apple's CODA Takes You Into an Inner World of Sign)
YouTube has canceled its annual YouTube Rewind video this year, the company said Thursday, taking "a break" from a widely anticipated and heavily watched clip that recaps the year's trends with a flood of cameos by online stars and influencers. A 2020 YouTube Rewind would've marked the 10th anniversary of the yearly video.
YouTube Rewind routinely draws in hundreds of millions of views on Google's massive video service. The 2018 Rewind, for example, currently sits at 208 million views. That year's edition also had the distinction of being the most-disliked video ever on the platform, one that even YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki's own children called "cringey." But every YouTube Rewind has topped 100 million views since 2012.
"Rewind has always been a celebration of you," YouTube said Thursday in a public statementon social media. "But 2020 has been different. And it doesn't feel right to carry on as if it weren't. So, we're taking a break from Rewind this year."
The announcement puts YouTube Rewind in the same boat as would-be Hollywood blockbusters and high-profile sporting events that usually command gigantic audiences, making it another entertainment staple disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic. YouTube, which has more than 2 billion monthly users, focused its announcement on the propriety of producing and releasing Rewind in a year when nothing is normal.
But shooting Rewind this year would've made the video an even more elaborate and expensive undertaking than usual. Rewind typically includes rapid-fire edits between dozens upon dozens of online-video stars. In the past, YouTube has coordinated multiple shoots around the globe, bringing those YouTubers and their entourages to multiple studios and soundstages for days to shoot all the snippets that ultimately make up the annual five- to eight-minute video.
But re-creating that format while observing COVID-19 safety protocols would've been a massive, costly undertaking.