YouTube on Thursday celebrated its first full decade in business. It was 10 years ago to the day that cofounder Jawed Karim uploaded the site’s first video. It was a humble beginning: a 19-second clip of elephants, with Karim declaring that the pachyderms have “really, really long trunks.”
In fairness, it may have been in keeping with other notable firsts in technology. In speaking for the first time on his telephone invention, Alexander Graham Bell said, “Mr. Watson — come here — I want to see you.” Thomas Edison’s first phonographic recording was “Mary had a little lamb.”
Bell and Edison changed the world with their inventions, however, and so too did Karim and cofounders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen with YouTube. Within days of its public debut, users from around the world began posting their own videos.
Just one year after its launch, the three sold YouTube to Google for US$1.65 billion.
YouTube Under Google
After being acquired by Google, YouTube continued to grow and attract users. It consumed as much bandwidth in 2007 as the entire Internet in 2000, according to one estimate. As of 2011, it commanded more than 3 billion views per day, and that figure increased to 4 billion just a year later.
In May 2013, YouTube launched a pilot program that would offer content providers the ability to charge $0.99 a month for certain channels, but today the vast majority of content remains free — albeit ad-supported.
YouTube earlier this year announced the launch of YouTube Kids, a mobile app that offers parental controls and restrictions on who can upload and watch videos.
YouTube is the third-most-visited website, according to Alexa, following Google and Facebook. It now has some 800 million users. More than 300 hours of new videos are uploaded to the site every minute of the day.
“Who would have thought that independently producedMinecraft screencasts would rival network-produced sitcoms in households around the world?” pondered Josh Crandall, principal analyst at Netpop Research.
“In only 10 years, YouTube has redefined what video means for a generation,” he told TechNewsWorld.
“Today, kids don’t turn to network TV — they look for niche programming on YouTube that satisfies their interests wherever and whenever they are,” Crandall noted.
“YouTube has created a brand that is as colorful and diverse as the unique individuals, driven by their passions, who create the authentic programming unavailable anywhere else,” he added. “Not only humorous and engaging, YouTube content taps into viewers’ passions by offering educational content as well.”