“…nearly double the prime-time audience of all three major U.S. television networks combined.”
Click on this image to see a larger, more readable version of this very informative graphic about YouTube's first five years of existence.
As the story goes, Hurley and Chen conceived YouTube after having trouble sharing videos shot at a dinner party at Chen’s San Francisco apartment. The mission was simple:
“…give anyone a place to easily upload their videos and share them with the world. Whether you were an aspiring filmmaker, a politician, a proud parent, or someone who just wanted to connect with something bigger, YouTube became the place where you could broadcast yourself.”
YouTube’s Rise: Striking Fear into the Hearts of TV Networks
A few fun facts:
Users upload over a day’s worth of video to YouTube every minute;
YouTube broadcasts live sports to over 200 countries;
and the average user spends about 15 minutes per day on the site.
Needless to say, YouTube’s staggering success is changing the way TV networks are thinking about both their audiences and themselves. As Wired‘s Eliot Van Buskirk writes, YouTube’s doubling the viewership of the United States’ three major networks
“…hints at an eventual tipping point when the internet could become the world’s dominant video delivery system, Mark Cuban’s predictions aside.”
YouTube, however, may be more of an ally than a foe for TV networks. As Van Buskirk astutely observes, unlike their counterparts in the music industry, TV networks not only own their content, but they also have the leveraging power of having similar, successful projects already in play — e.g., Hulu (ABC and NBC) and CBS.com. This will certainly work in their favor as they make the plunge of officially posting their old content on YouTube.
More interestingly, Van Buskirk notes, YouTube is changing our viewing behavior, and our computer content viewing habits will inevitably alter how we consume TV programming. The trend toward bringing the internet to TV is already well in motion:
“They are not only the actors and stars of their show, but they are the producers, the copy editors, and cinematographers; they work to market themselves, close advertising deals, and sometimes employ a team to support and promote them.”
That said, YouTube undeniably is still home to a plethora of crap. Among that crap is the first YouTube video ever posted,“Me at the zoo” (see below), which features founder Jawed Karim at the San Diego Zoo. The nineteen seconds you’ll spend watching it is probably nineteen seconds too long. Thanks, YouTube, and happy birthday!
Thanks for reading! I hope to read your thoughts and concerns on YouTube, the future of TV networks & manufacturers, and new media’s emerging creative class in the comment section below. If you’d like to contact me directly, you can reach me through my newly added contact form.