YouTube hits 2 billion views per day

17 May 2010

Google-owned video player site YouTube has revealed its daily traffic now exceeds more than 2 billion views a day – that’s nearly double the prime-time audience of all major US TV networks combined, the company said.

The site has launched the YouTube Five Year Channel to mark its fifth anniversary, which includes the ‘My YouTube Story’ project, featuring people all over the world describing how YouTube changed or shaped their lives.

YouTube was started above a pizzeria in 2005 in California by three former PayPal workers: Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim. The story goes that they got the idea for YouTube after they had difficulties sharing a video online of a dinner party they attended. In reality it was venture-funded from the get-go with US$11.5m in funds from Sequoia Capita.

Within one year the site had more than 65,000 new videos uploaded daily and 100 million video views.

By November 2006, Google had swooped in with a US$1.65bn acquisition. The site uses Adobe Flash Video technology to display largely user-generated video content.

The site began as a site for bedroom video loggers (vloggers) with the simple mission of giving anyone a place to easily upload their videos and share them with the world.

The site found a following from aspiring film makers, politicians, proud parents and aspiring musicians.

YouTube today has evolved into the second-largest search engine on the planet and a global platform that supports high-definition and 3D, broadcasts entire sports seasons live to 200-plus countries and brings feature films from Hollywood studios and indie film makers to audiences worldwide.

As well as this, activists use YouTube to document social unrest, seeking to transform societies, and leading civic and political figures stream interviews to the world.

The YouTube Five Year Channel hosts an interactive timeline containing some of the most important moments and memes in the site’s relatively short history. Users are invited to add their own stories to the mix.

YouTube said its ambition for the future is to make the site easier to navigate and find the videos that matter to people.

It said that although the average user spends 15 minutes a day on YouTube, it is still tiny compared to the five hours a day people still spend watching TV.

“This is only the beginning of the video revolution. We’re just getting started,” YouTube stated.

By John Kennedy

Youtube five years

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years