YouTube is one of the most popular video sharing services in the world. This is a rather simple service that allows a, registered, user to upload an unlimited number of videos. Each video is limited to either 10 minutes and 59 seconds or 2 GB. YouTube understands that not everyone wants to be a registered user. For those users - they can view videos, do keyword searches and post comments but will not be able to upload videos. YouTube is a massive community of over 100 million viewers as such it has strict "Community Guidelines." These guiding principles are established to protect YouTube and the community at large - "uploading videos containing defamation, pornography and copyright violations" is prohibited by YouTube's terms of service.
Back in 2005, three very young men - Jawed Karim, Steve Chen and Chad Hurley founded YouTube. As the story goes - Steve and Chad developed YouTube because they were having issues sharing videos that were taken at Steve's apartment. Although, there is a debate on the validity of this story, it's what Chen and Hurley are sticking to. The first YouTube video ever uploaded was of Jawed Karim, at the San Diego Zoo. It is an 18 second video that was uploaded on April 23, 2005 - "Me at the zoo."
YouTube's success has been rapid and disciplined:
- 2005 - The official launch of YouTube
- 2006 - Google purchases YouTube for $1.65 billion
- 2007 - UC Berkeley makes all lectures available on YouTube
- 2008 - YouTube signs content agreement with CBS, MGM, Lions Gate, BBC, Sony and Starz
- 2009 - YouTube is servicing 1 billion videos per day
More than 147 million U.S. Internet users watched an average of 101 videos per viewer in January. Google Sites grew to 102 million online video viewers during the month, or more than two out of every three Internet users who watched video. Fox Interactive ranked second with 62.1 million viewers, followed by Yahoo! Sites (41.9 million) and Microsoft Sites (30.0 million).
Hurley understands that user-generated content is what gave birth to YouTube. He also understands that online video is a competitive landscape. In order to maintain its dominance, YouTube must forge partnerships with professional content providers. I believe that the partnerships YouTube has forged with CBS, MGM, Lions Gate, BBC, Sony and Starz will secure its dominance.
This is not to say that companies such as Hulu, Apple, Microsoft or Boxee are giving up. Also, let's not forget that there is still a Comcast - NBC deal that is scheduled to be closed within eighteen months.
Video properties were big talk in 2009 and it will continue to be a central conversation in 2010.
In January, Google Sites once again ranked as the top U.S. video property with 6.4 billion videos viewed (43 percent online video market share), with YouTube.com accounting for more than 99 percent of all videos viewed at the property. Fox Interactive Media ranked second with 552 million videos (3.7 percent), followed by Yahoo! Sites with 374 million (2.5 percent) and Viacom Digital with 288 million (1.9 percent). Megavideo climbed 15 percent (103 million videos) in January to capture a spot in the top ten for the first time.
Today, YouTube dominates the space. Unfortunately, one misstep and one of these content giants could overtake YouTube and be claimed the new heavyweight champion. In my opinion, this will not be the case for 2010 and YouTube will maintain industry dominance. It will continue to partner with professional content creators and normalize advertisement formats. Let's not forget that YouTube has the advantage - its parent company is one of the most successful advertisement companies in the world.