AFV, http://abc.go.com/primetime/afv/index?pn=index, has been on ABC since 1989 and will be celebrating it's 20th anniversary this November. This is how the show works: viewers send in funny videos, the funniest ones are aired on the show, and the audience picks the funniest one every week to win around $10,000.
This is how Youtube works, the viewers (a.k.a everyone) send in (post) funny videos, the funniest ones get passed around viraly and get high public exposure, and the every year people vote on the best Youtube videos. Sounds similar to AFV when you put it that way!
Before going too far, I acknowledge that Youtube has other uses, such as sharing informational videos from schools, organizations, etc... For example, many schools post recruitment videos on Youtube and many organizations post panel discussions and recordings of special presentations. Music videos are amonst the most popular type of Youtube video being watched, and wanna-be artists also post their music often.
But my question is why is Youtube more successful (socially) than AFV? I haven't thought about it enough to answer the question completely, but I'm going to throw some thoughts out there. The social aspect of Youtube is huge. People talk about videos via text or video comments and I'm guessing this makes a person feel like their voice is being heard. Or maybe, as Durkheim would say, it's increases their Social Solidarity, as a person feels like they're part of some greater collective and feels some kind of bond to the group of peope who all enjoy the same video.
One thing I can't explain is the "characterization" of people in popular Youtube videos. On AFV some unsuspecting man gets hit in the groin with an apple and no makes up a nickname for him. On Youtube some panda makes funny sounds at the zoo and all of a sudden she's "Crazy Panda". I don't even watch that many Youtube videos and I can at least one Youtube "character". So why do people get so attached to you Youtube videos, I don't know.