What is YouTube?

A sharing site that allows the uploading and viewing of digital video.Youtube currently reaches over one billion views per day. That’s at least 11,574 views per second. Or 694,444 views per minute. Or 41,666,667 views per hour.1 Youtube recently has expanded their business model and now offers movie rentals as well as fuels a sister site Movieclips that hosts thousands of different scenes from famous movies.

Youtube can be considered a huge capital success. With a 2009 reported revenue of $240 million, it is the largest online video viewing platform bar none. However this does not come without costs, each year Youtube pends more than $700 million hosting all the video on the site. This includes (and is made up mostly by) the cost of storing all of the videos that are held on their site.

How does it work?
Videos on YouTube are uploaded by individuals directly through the sites web based uploader. These user posted videos cannot exceed 15 minutes (for standard accounts), however they have been experimenting with removing this clause. To view vidoes the user most have installed Adobe Flash Player, the main format for all YouTube videos.

To increase the mobile and newer browser compatibilty, Youtbe now also supports HTML5. Youtube supports almost all formats of uploaded videos on it's site, including but not limited too:

Youtube Also supports 3GP, which allows mobile uploading from cellular telephone cameras directly to the site.2

History of Youtube

In February, 2005 three Ex-PayPal employees named Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim decided they wanted to create a “Flickr for video” site and the next big thing on the web. the next day they immediately decided to acquire the domain "". After developing the project, on April 25, 2005 first video is uploaded to the site which featured one of the sites creators at the zoo. The project continued development until December 15, 2005 when YouTube was officially launched. Within a month the site was averaging over 2 million views a week3, ridiculous for such a new website. Seeing the potential and success of the newer site, on October 9, 2006 Google aquired YouTube for $1.65 billion even though it already had its own video service, Google Video.4 This investment proved to be sound and on October 12, 2009 passed the 1 billion view a day mark.56

Who uses Youtube?


What is Youtube used for?

Youtube is directly responsible for the increased web presence of Viral Videos. However the site is also used for many commercial applications such as promotional advertisements, both uploaded and embedded directly into the site. The site is also host to hundreds of thousands of Movie and Television Clips from a variety of shows. An emergent behavior among the Youtube community is Video Blogging where a user will keep a public diary through the use of their Youtube "channel". Youtube also has begun to function as a springboard for things like Sketch Comedy groups and amateur film and short makers. Give the relatively open possibilities of the sites tools, new ways to use the site are being found daily. For example, upon the unveiling of their new annotation feature Youtube became home to many choose your own adventure video based games.


Youtube tested themselves by trying to delve into the movie and television streaming market with little success. Sites likes Hulu generally dominate the market already and due to there already free nature it became very hard for Youtube to pull users away from competing sites even though they are so established.

Youtube also has paired with large record labels and through the use of the Vevo channel now streams many songs through the site. This was a direct movement to combat sites like Pandora and who became powerhouses in the music streaming industry.

Youtube was created as a direct response to Flickr. Youtube's founders created the site to be the "Flickr of video" and it's success was not surprise due to the demand for such a product. Flickr itself later released a video tool, however it was too little too late as Youtube had established itself and generally capitalized the market.

What gives Youtube a competitive advantage?

Youtube's strength lies in the ability that anyone can upload anything they wish (copyrighted material excluded) and then anyone with an internet connection can immediately watch this content. Given the sites popularity, the prospect of easy exposure for users also attracts more content providers for the site. The site's ease of use also acts as a huge advantage for it, allowing the technically inept to still participate and making the experience user friendly. Because of it's new owner Google, the increased funding and web presence also had made the site widely accessible. The site is now usable in almost every country and format on earth.8

Problems of YouTube
Youtube is notorious for being home to a plethora of illegally uploaded copyrighted materials, and moderating this problem takes a large amount of time and effort. Youtube also has reached a scale where is most deal with the legality issues of certain nations as a whole. Youtube has to draw the line on where it stands pertaining to such issues as censorship and politically controversial Content. Youtube is forced with drawing it's own distinction line of "What is too much?". Youtube's User Comments are also constantly plauged with Flame Wars and comment battles, and the things said are generally less than G rated.

The Future

YouTube is becoming an utility, like electricity or phone lines. Many people get a large majority of their news of the world from Youtube and were it to disappear there would be more serious ramifications. It is believed that Youtube is working to build greater possible streaming services to compete with Netflix. The recent addition of rentals to Television Shows was there testing the waters for this. Youtube could theoretically one day become a cable provider altogether in my mind, however it is doubtful that a “new” YouTube, due to it's huge user base. The site would just increase in features/usability rather than relaunch over time.

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