Numa Numa is an Internet phenomenon based on amateur videos, most notably Numa Numa Dance by Gary Brolsma, made for the song "Dragostea din tei" as performed by O-Zone. Brolsma's video, released in December 2004 onto the website Newgrounds.com, was the first Numa Numa-themed video to gain widespread attention. Less than three months after the release, it had been viewed more than two million times on the debut website alone. Numa Numa Dance has since spawned many parody videos, including those created for the "New Numa Contest", sponsored by Brolsma, which promised US$45,000 in prize money for submissions. His original video was named 41st in the 2006 broadcast of 100 Greatest Funny Moments by Channel 4 in the UK.
The phrase Numa Numa is taken from a song written by the Moldovan band, O-Zone.
The Numa Numa phenomenon was first popularized by Gary Brolsma's release of Numa Numa Dance onto Newgrounds.com on December 6, 2004. The video shows Gary Brolsma wearing headphones and lipsyncing to the audio of the original O-zone track whilst moving his head, shoulders and arms gesticulating to the music in an animated and earnest manner. Brolsma was sitting at his computer filming himself with a webcam, which thus provides a tightly restricted frame of action giving the video and its genre a visually distinct character. This video has been viewed over 35 million times on YouTube.
By February 25, 2005, less than 3 months after he released the video onto Newgrounds, it had been viewed more than two million times on that site alone. Brolsma later stated in an interview, "...I found it ["Dragostea din tei"] in another (I believe it was Japanese) flash animation with cartoon cats". Others have noted Brolsma's inspiration was the Japanese flash animation Maiyahi by the Albinoblacksheep.com user "ikari", whose music featured an animated version of the popular Shift JIS art cat Monā.
On Newgrounds, Numa Numa Dance has since been seen more than eighteen million times. From there it has been copied onto hundreds of other websites and blogs. According to a November 27, 2006 report by the BBC, based on page impression figures collated by viral marketing company The Viral Factory, Numa Numa Dance is the second-most watched viral video of all time, with 700 million views, losing out only to "Star Wars kid". He received mainstream media coverage from ABC's Good Morning America, NBC's The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and VH1's Best Week Ever and the Numa Numa video was listed as number 1 on VH1s Top 40 Internet Superstars. According to The New York Times, however, he was an "unwilling and embarrassed Web celebrity". He canceled media appearances but reappeared in September 2006 with a professionally produced video, New Numa, featuring a song specially created for him by Variety Beats. This video, hosted on YouTube, marked the start of the "New Numa Contest", which promised US$45,000 in prize money and a US$25,000 award to the winner.
A story in the June/July 2006 issue of The Believer explores the song's spread and global homogenization, while arguing that Brolsma's video "singlehandedly justifies the existence of webcams (....) It’s a movie of someone who is having the time of his life, wants to share his joy with everyone, and doesn’t care what anyone else thinks".