10 years ago, online video was still in its infancy. It was inconvenient to publish video on the Internet, to say the least. You had to have a little bit of programming skills to be able to embed QuickTime or Flash videos on your website or upload anything on a cloud, for that matter. It’s really hard to comprehend a world where we didn’t have cat videos at the tip of our fingers to watch anytime and everywhere we like. And yet, that’s exactly the world we had at the beginning of 2005 on February 14th.
On that Valentine’s Day three young guys, former PayPal employees, wanted to give a world yet another adult meeting website, much like HotOrNot only with the emphasis on shared videos instead of pictures. They registered a domain with a weird name “YouTube.com”. They thought it was an idea worth pursuing but soon enough it turned out it was anything but.
Already having a registered site that allowed users to upload videos, they thought they’d try an even simpler idea. What if they allowed people to upload any kind of video, to share with friends and family, maybe that’ll work? Heck, at that time, they didn’t have anything to lose.
And boy, they were right after $1,6 billion, later paid by Google.
The very first video uploaded on YouTube was one of founder Karim’s simply called “Me at the zoo”. It is known for its lame attempt at an elephant joke but is still considered significant and widely watched gaining more than 18 million views by this day. Soon after, YouTube was officially opened for public in May 2005 and the rest is history, indeed.
In 2006, YouTube was one the fastest growing websites on the planet, uploading 65,000 videos per day and getting more than 100 million views per month.
Fast forward 10 years, the website, valued now at $40 billion, uploads roughly 300 hours of video every minute. It’s the third most viewed site in the world; it boasts over one billion (with a capital B) viewers who watch each month more than 6 billion (again with a capital B) hours of video (which is roughly 9132 human life spans, mind you). 45% of this uploaded original content, in 2013 at least, was one involving pets (you would think that Justin Bieber can’t be outpaced by fluffy cat videos, but you would be wrong).
YouTube, though, is not only a place for sharing pet or baby clips, as 29 of 30 of YouTube’s most watched videos are professional music videos. In the beginning, it was a mess of copyright issues and in some part it still is. But publishers found new ways of exploiting their music repositories and will sure find an even better way in the future as MTV generation nowadays became YT generation. Music streaming was born in a way from this new forced approached of shared free music and is here to stay and evolve.
In this newly-created world, PewDiePie (Felix Kjellberg), YouTuber, has a subscriber base of close to 35 million (that’s the population of Canada, folks) and it adds one new every 2,9 seconds. He gained 4.1 billion views in 2014 alone and is now ready to create his own multi-channel network. Suffice to say, he’s a multi-millionaire thanks to the cloud service.
First video to really break the record of massive video views was the wildly popular “Evolution of Dance” with its 290 million views, gathered over the years.
A couple of years later, published in 2012, ”Gangnam Style” video garnered 2,2 billion views and it’s the first ever video to break the 1 billion views record. That’s mind boggling considering that accounts for about a third of the population of the world, including newborn babies!
The future for YouTube
So what is in the future for YouTube and how will it continue to affect us people, video publishers and the video marketing business, in general?
Some see it as emerging to become a service for all TV content and slowly overtaking the traditional broadcasting (not too far fetched, considering YouTube app is pre-installed in many smart TV’s of today). Lots of sport channels and leagues, like NBA and NFL, already publish unique content on YouTube but that’s just a tiny hint of what’s possible to achieve in the future when these collaborations continue to grow.
The service will probably become much smarter in choosing and suggesting the new content as that’ll be crucial for personalizing user experience and affecting ad performance. On the other hand, algorithms for measuring video engagement will become more precise and beneficial for YouTube content creators as well. Altogether, it will bring more marketing opportunities and advanced pinpoint targeting with much less annoying advertising and more helpful for both parties, in general. Other services and plugins (like our own Veeps) will become crucial in developing, personalizing and expanding the users experience on YouTube for everybody to their like.
YouTube has already benefited, dare to say, humanity as a whole and businesses across the globe. It’s not a bad accomplishment for a service that started with a 19 second elephant joke video.
Now in its teenage years and slowly approaching maturity we can’t wait to see what is gonna become of it, and we will surely be there to carefully follow the next steps and to grow together.