NATE GRANZOW SETTLES into his chair and taps a few keys on his keyboard. Two large computer screens blink to life. The left screen has a browser with so many open tabs it looks like a comb. Granzow clicks a tab, and up pops a list of 40 videos he must watch in the next hour.
?Stingray scares little girl!? reads the title of one YouTube clip. It?s about a minute long, and shows two toddlers leaning over a pool, watching stingrays swim by. The boy accidentally touches one and screams with delight. Seeing this, the girl sticks her hand in the pool. When a stingray swims near, she yanks her hand back and makes a face. ?Hmmm. She didn?t get scared enough for me,? Granzow says, banishing the clip with a click.
Next up is ?Funny French Bulldog (Moose) Sings Along with Accordion Practice,? in which a dog snuggled in a zebra-striped blanket tries to follow an off-screen accordion with off-key yelps. Granzow watches skeptically. ?All right,? he finally says, ?that?s cute.? It is approved.
A guy in a hamster suit falling over at a children?s birthday party also gets the nod. It reminds him of a video his company approved a few weeks ago?Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck performing the Nae Nae. He rejects ?Close Call Canoeists.? I kind of like it (especially at 1:45), but he doesn?t.
It may sound like Granzow is wasting time at work, but he?s sifting for gold. And the airy, warehouse-like building of glass and exposed beams where he works is full of people just like him. He?s a researcher at Jukin Media, a small company in Los Angeles that identifies extremely shareable videos, strikes deals with the people who own them, and then licenses the clips. ?Viral videos are our world,? the company website reads. ?Whether you have them or you need them, we happen to cover both.?
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