On Valentine’s Day, 2005, what is now the world’s third most visited website was born. Because of this, there will never be a shortage of cute kitten videos.
YouTube – the home of both crazy home videos and breaking news stories – has become an integral part of media in the last decade. With one billion users and over 300 hours of video uploaded every minute, it transformed the Internet and changed the ways we utilize, share, and create content. For many, it is hard to imagine the Internet without it.
How did YouTube become so integrated into our culture?
The site’s domain was registered on Feb. 14, 2005 by three friends and ex-PayPal employees: Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim. On April 23 of the same year, Mr. Kareem uploaded the very first video, titled “Me at the Zoo,” which featured himself at the San Diego Zoo.
The founders went public with a beta test in May, then officially went public in November 2005. By June 2006, about 2.5 billion videos were watched, and around 65,000 videos were uploaded daily, reported Reuters at the time. Its quick success caught the eye of Google, who then bought YouTube for $1.65 billion in stock in a deal that was finalized in November 2006.
Under Google’s ownership, the site has only continued to thrive. In 2014, YouTube was estimated to bring in about $1.13 billion in video-advertising revenue in the US, a 39 percent increase from 2013, reported Variety.com. One challenge, however, continues to be how to monetize user-generated content.
But from the consumer’s perspective, YouTube’s integration into life continues to rise. According to a study done by Pew Research Center, about three in ten adults uploaded a video to the site in 2013, and over 72 percent of adults use the site in general. Whether you are looking for a good laugh or an inspirational speech, YouTube ensures you will find it online.
“YouTube, at 10 years old, is the most interesting place on the Internet. It’s not about the platform or the brand, of course, but rather the sheer amount of content it hosts and its diversity,” reported The Guardian. “[Three hundred] hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. Not all of it is worth watching but enough of it is that you won’t live long enough to see it all.”
The Pew Research Center found that among Internet users who posted an original video online in 2013, almost half uploaded a video of a pet or animal, explaining the plethora of cat videos. About 60 percent posted a video showing friends and family doing everyday things, while 56 percent posted a video of themselves or others doing funny things. A little over half of users posted videos of an event they attended.
From its humble beginnings of animal commentary at the zoo to being an active participant in the 2015 State of the Union address, the site continues to evolve, reflecting its growing user base. What the future holds for the site promises to be equally as surprising and diverse.