Friday, September 03, 2010

You Tube, I Tube, etc

Every once in awhile I realize that there are things my kids take for granted that I don't.

Like cell phones.

Central Air Conditioning.

Indoor plumbing.

Okay, I've always had indoor plumbing as did my parents.

What about my future grandkids. Will Facebook and You Tube be around?

I guess we better take a look at You Tube's history while we still know what it is!

From the Basic Marketing Blog:

A Short History of YouTube

The Rise of YouTube

Many people simply can’t imagine a time without YouTube, but the fact is that this video-sharing site has only been in existence since early 2005. In just a few short years, YouTube has gone from newcomer to dominator. In the realm of video-sharing, few sites can even come close to matching YouTube. Like its parent company Google, YouTube dominates on the web.

YouTube was designed to be a place where people are free to upload content. Much of the content that is loaded onto YouTube’s website is material from copyrighted television and movie programs. This aspect of the site has received a great deal of attention. However, copyrighted material is far from being the only type of content on YouTube. In fact, the scope and variety of content that is showcased on this website is nothing short of staggering. This is due, in part, to the fact that YouTube is available in fourteen different languages.

People are using YouTube for everything from promoting their own products and video blogging to showcasing their independent films and animations. YouTube is even used by major media outlets and news organizations to promote their content. By 2008, YouTube had agreements with companies such as CBS and Lions Gate Entertainment where television shows and films could legally be posted to the site. As of 2010, YouTube has formed over 10,000 content partners in total from around the world.

YouTube was developed and launched by former PayPal employees Steve Chen, Chad Hurley and Jawed Karim. Chen and Karim were both from a computer science background and developed the site in response to problems they had experienced involving sharing videos over the web. Interestingly, Steve Chen was also one of the first employees at Facebook, but left the company to pursue his YouTube plans. Chad Hurley was instrumental in the creation of the company’s logo.

The real breakthrough for YouTube and its young founders came in late 2005, when they were able to secure over $11 million in funding from Sequoia Capital. Sequoia Capital is the same venture capital fund that has played a role in numerous Internet start-ups, including PayPal and LinkedIn.

After several months of work, YouTube officially launched a beta site in May of 2005. The rate of growth for the site was nothing short of phenomenal. Within just one year, YouTube was experiencing an impressive 100 million videos being viewed each day. Even while it was still a new website, the potential of YouTube was clear to many people. wrote an article in 2005 entitled, “YouTube-The King of Video Sharing?” Quoting Nathan Weinberg of Inside Google, Mashable stated, “YouTube has moved ahead of Google Video in terms of popularity…But its not just Google-these guys have moved ahead of everybody!” Even in 2005, industry insiders realized that Google was going to be the dominant player in video searches and video downloads.

Part of what makes the YouTube story such a fascinating one is how website grew with such unprecedented speed. By 2006, it was a dominant player in the video download game. In October 2006, Internet giant Google acquired YouTube for a whopping $1.65 billion dollars, which was paid in Google stock.

With the help of Google, YouTube has found yet more growth. By 2010, a remarkable two billion videos are served each and every day. In fact, the amount of content that YouTube has at its disposal is likely to play a significant role in the development of Google TV.

There are many video-sharing sites on the web, but YouTube quickly managed to distinguish itself. Part of what makes YouTube somewhat unique is this wide spectrum of diversity. Today, YouTube is used for just about every reason imaginable. You can quickly find videos from media giants like CBS or children’s piano recitals for grandparents and relatives to watch worldwide.

YouTube also began providing a method through which users could profit from their videos. As of 2007, YouTube has allowed users to place advertisements in and around the videos they upload. The money from these ads is then split between YouTube and the user. In 2008, Brian Stelter at The New York Times wrote an article entitled, “YouTube Videos Pull in Real Money.” This article explains how people are able to make a living through adding advertising to the YouTube videos they produce. Buckey writes, “One year after YouTube, the online video powerhouse, invited members to become ‘partners’ and added advertising to their videos, the most successful users are earning six-figure incomes from the website.”

Of course, the site has not been without its controversy. On one level, the site has been attacked for not doing enough to combat copyright infringement on the site. The issue of copyright on YouTube, of course, reached a fevered pitch when Viacom sued YouTube. Not surprisingly, this resulted in a very messy legal battle.

Google, the parent company of YouTube, even went so far as to state that Viacom had uploaded large volumes of its own content on purpose. Wired Magazine covered this issue in a March 18th, 2010 article called “Accusations Fly in Viacom, YouTube Copyright Flight.” The article includes a quote from Google stating, “’Viacom alone has uploaded thousands of videos to YouTube to market hundreds of its programs and movies, including many that are works in suite,’ Google wrote. ‘Given the broad scope of marketing, YouTube could not be charged with knowledge of infringement merely because it came across a video that was clearly from a professionally produced television show or movie.”

Yet this is only one aspect of the legal problems that YouTube has faced. Several countries, including China and Pakistan, have shut down the site for a variety of political reasons. However despite its problems, YouTube has grown seemingly unabated.

YouTube realized the high-definition would be an important aspect of the site, and with this fact in mind has slowly moved the site in this direction. In November 2008, 720p HD was added as an option for videos and full 1080p quality was added about one year later. By 2009, some 3D content was made available as well.

YouTube Becomes Dominant

As of 2010, YouTube held an Alexa ranking of 3rd of all sites on the Internet. Part of this success stems from the sites incredible 23 page views per visitor. YouTube visitors average about twenty minutes on the site per visit. These incredible numbers are further amplified when one considers that YouTube’s parent company is Google, whose Alexa ranking is number one. Thus, with the acquisition of YouTube, Google effectively gained the spot of both number one and number three of all Internet web destinations.

Few sites have ever experienced the rate of growth that YouTube has experienced and continues to experience to this day. Today, billions of videos are watched daily on the site, and there seems to be no stopping YouTube’s growth. The simple fact is that YouTube has become a vital part of many people’s lives. The site is truly nothing short of a global phenomenon. In recent years, YouTube has been taking serious steps towards monetizing the site, and there is little doubt that parent company Google will likely earn back far more than it initially invested.

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