Inspiration and Founding

Steve Chen, Chad Hurley, and Jawed Karim founded YouTube in February of 2005. The idea was originally inspired partially by the infamous Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction at the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show and partially by the Asian tsunami of 2004. Karim found it absurd that a video of something as scandalous as Jackson’s exposed breast on television or important as a devastating natural disaster was so difficult to find on the Internet. It was at this moment that Karim realized the potential in a video-sharing platform. On YouTube’s website, it is formally described as “a forum for people to connect, inform, and inspire others across the globe and acts as a distribution platform for original content creators and advertisers large and small.” The concept focused on the opportunity to be able to both contribute and access content for free. It would allow anyone who had access to Internet connection to pick up a camera and/or develop a video, and upload his or her own creations to the website for everyone to see. Viewers would also have quick access to every video uploaded to the site and be able to re-watch as much as they’d like or share the video with family and friends.

YouTube In Its Early Launch Stages:

123456 123456

Success Since Google

In 2006, Google bought the media outlet 20 months after its release for $1.65 billion, a shocking price at that time. Skeptical of the future of video sharing as an influential media source, the public was surprised at the support that Google showed for a fairly new website like YouTube. Soon after the investment was confirmed, blogger Richard Macmanus wrote, “Out of all the reports, the thing that most strikes me is how much Google believes video is the future of the Internet.” However, Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google at the time, assured, “This is the next step in the evolution of the Internet.” Later in 2007, Google took YouTube a step further and introduced video advertising. Though it started off small, with the ads taking up 20% of the window and lasting approximately 10 seconds, it paved the way for an increased revenue and the development of the advertising technique that is used today. Google believed in the future of video media and the consumption of it through an easily accessible website and they were undeniably correct. Currently localized in over 60 countries, YouTube is now visited by more than 1 billion unique viewers each month. 100 hours of video content are uploaded to YouTube every minute and over 600 billion hours are watched each month, according to their website. Though Google has never released YouTube financial figures, it is now estimated to be worth up to $40 billion. YouTube has taken over the world of media, surpassing the majority of people’s expectations. The website has even become so prominent that Nielsen claims that more 18 to 34 years old Americans are reached through YouTube than any current existing cable networks.

 YouTube Currently:

 123456 123456

Going Viral

YouTube’s easy means of sharing and uploading content made way for viral videos. There is an unbelievable amount of content on YouTube, but once a video catches someone’s eyes it has the potential to be known around the globe. There are numerous ways to share a video that you have enjoyed whether it is simply by copying and pasting the link directly or posting it on a social media network such as Facebook or Twitter. The platform has proven time and time again that it is capable of making celebrities practically overnight. Some well-known celebrities that started their career on or owe much of their success to YouTube include Justin Bieber, Psy, and Karmin. Justin Bieber, before he was an international pop star, posted videos of himself singing at the age of twelve. By the time he was 15, Bieber signed a record deal, had Usher as a mentor, and released his first album. Though there are plenty of music-oriented or just plain cute viral videos to go around, they are not limited to these topics. A recent example of a viral video on YouTube that has blown up in the United States is the James Foley beheading video. Posted on YouTube, the content quickly gained attention, was later covered by countless other media outlets and took the country by storm. The videos uploaded onto YouTube along with its vast amount of viewers has completely changed the speed and the ways of media by enabling access to visuals that can be spread to millions of people within minutes.

Billions of Views

Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 3.08.14 PMScreen Shot 2014-11-13 at 3.08.36 PM

A New Wave of Celebrities

Mid-2007, YouTube launched what they called the Partner Program. This allowed the creators of viral content to be paid for their contributions. For some, consistent success and a following of fans or subscribers made it possible to be a “YouTuber” as their job. YouTube boasts that, “thousands of channels are making six figures a year.” The media outlet have not only helped create celebrities in Hollywood, but have established a new era of Internet celebrities with incredible followings. Swedish YouTuber Felix Kjellberg runs the most-subscribed and most-viewed YouTube channel under the name of PewDiePie (a gaming channel) with over 32 million subscribers. A couple other successful YouTubers in different genres are Ryan Higa and his parody channel Nigahiga with over 13 million subscribers and Michelle Phan and her beauty channel with over 7 million subscribers. Phan has also published her own book, released a makeup line, and created a beauty subscription bag company, but she is not the only one chasing business opportunities outside of YouTube. Several other YouTubers have published books, released original music, started businesses, and even starred on television shows as a result from their online fame. Because these YouTubers are just ordinary people who make their best efforts to communicate on a personal level with their viewers daily, their fans feel a special bond with the people they watch and are incredibly loyal to and supportive of their endeavors. Knowing this influence that successful content creators have on YouTube, a flood of advertisers try to get their products on the same screen as these “celebrities” and many product placements have made appearances in videos all across the site.

Sponsors and Product Placement:

123456 123456

Tyler Oakley promoting NatureBox                        Troye Sivan promoting

Advancements with Technology

As technology advances, YouTube consistently manages to remain relevant and successful as a media outlet because they adapt quickly to accommodate consumer needs. In 2011, YouTube released a live streaming feature. This allowed everyone with access to YouTube to watch important events like the Olympic games or a Presidential debate from your device if you did not have a television nearby. Another feature that YouTube now offers is the ability to pay and watch full episodes (individually or by season) and movies on demand. A television practically becomes unnecessary as talk shows and news stations have developed their own YouTube channels as well. Viewers can watch video clips of the same stories that were on air at their own convenience and choose to only watch those that interest them rather than waiting or watching the news in its entirety to only hear a snippet of information that pertains to them. Additionally, in response to the popularity of social websites today, when you go to share a video online with family and friends, YouTube provides various direct links to all the most popular social networking sites and applications so you can make a quick and convenient post. Finally, they have most recently announced a brand new music subscription that they will be offering next year to their consumers for a fee of $10 a month. Soon with this one media outlet, you will be able to do it all: watch leisure videos, tune into important live events, see some movies or TV shows, watch the news, and listen to music.

Sharing Options                                                    Purchasing Movies on Demand

123456Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 3.26.18 PM

Opinions and Thoughts

YouTube has been incredibly successful since it’s original launch and I believe that it will continue to improve and remain the powerhouse that it is today where media is concerned. There will always be original content creators contributing to the platform and viewers will follow, especially with all the innovative features YouTube has been incorporating into their site. YouTube completely changed the world of media as we knew it and gave viewers across the globe easy access to any video they wished to see. I have watched many YouTubers consistently for the past couple of years and YouTube has easily become my favorite media outlet. There is so much originality on this website and it’s impossible to run out of videos to watch. I’m curious to see how they will advance further and influence our society in the future!

15 thoughts on “YouTube

  1. As a big YouTube fan, I thought it would be appropriate to post the link to the first video ever uploaded (Jawed Karim at the zoo):

    A rather uneventful first video but the first nonetheless
    -Daniel Anton


  2. I had no idea that some YouTubers make videos for a living. A personal favorite YouTuber of mine, Markiplier, has a channel pretty similar in style to PewDiePie’s and makes a living off of just making videos. From what I understand, he makes his money off of advertisements, lifestreams he broadcasts on weekends for charity, and appearances at gaming conventions. Mark Fischbach, the 25-year-old who runs the channel, was an unemployed college graduate when he started making videos. He’s said repeatedly in his videos that being a YouTuber is something he’s always wanted to do and YouTube helped him achieve that. YouTube is helping people do what they want for a living and it’s amazing.


  3. You said that you believe YouTube will continue to improve and be a powerhouse for media sharing, but do you see any competition from other video sharing sites like, Vimeo, Vevo, and even Facebook? I know Vevo is specifically for music artists, so I could see a rivalry between Youtube and Vevo posting music videos. And on both Vimeo and Vevo, most of their videos surpass the image quality of Youtube videos.


    1. YouTube and Vevo actually have a partnership. Google invests in Vevo and YouTube is allowed to use Vevo’s music videos on their platform. Yeah, if Vevo were to leave its partnership with YouTube it would cause some damage as Vevo provides the majority of the site’s music videos. However, Vevo would not be as successful on it’s own either. YouTube gives Vevo the ability to be shown in various countries across the globe and was crucial in Vevo’s success in the first place. More people are likely to go on or already be on YouTube and watch a Vevo video from there rather than going to specifically to watch a music video. As far as Vimeo goes, I think that the fact that they charge a subscription is a major setback. Maybe if they were to become free, it would contribute a bit more competition.


  4. I thought it was super cool that you mentioned product placement in Youtube because I actually did my entire project on product placement, but didn’t even begin to think of the fact that it could be on YouTube.

    Also, I think it’s interesting that no one believed video sharing would be a viable part of the internet’s future– yet now we have entire social media platforms dedicated to the creation and sharing of video. It just goes to show how technology is constantly evolving and changing how we interact.


  5. I hadn’t realized how quickly YouTube has grown and expanded! Their concept of purchasing movies on demand interests me. Are viewers paying to watch the movie only once, or for as many views as desired? It seems like YouTube has the potential to evolve into a competitor with Netflix if it charged a monthly fee for unlimited access to video, movies, etc.


    1. You can choose to either purchase YouTube’s paid content or to rent it for one viewing. They also offer HD for an additional price on some devices as well.


  6. Recetly in the news regarding Youtube, I’ve heard that they are complying “with thousands of requests from governments to censor and remove videos that show protests and other examples of citizens simply asserting their rights, while also deleting search terms by government mandate.” With the world’s current unrest, social media is blowing up with first hand accounts and videos, and it surprises me that YouTube is allegedly censoring so much.


  7. With YouTube gaining popularity with each video upload, and with the new rise of “YouTube celebrities”, I’m curious as to how this will affect the way we watch TV. With Netflix, Hulu, and now YouTube channels producing different web series, do you think this will create a competition for attention with TV?


    1. Yeah I think that Netflix, Hulu, and just Internet in general is affecting television popularity, but I think that YouTube and TV productions have their own separate place. Though some YouTubers will create elaborate content that is thirty minutes or even a hour long, the majority of content creators make short skits, vlogs (video blogs of their normal life), leisure videos (monthly favorite videos, gaming videos, prank videos, etc.). It’s more of a sit back, relax, and watch five minute videos kind of thing. TV shows, though, offer longer content with elaborate and more intense storylines, something that I don’t think that the public will give up anytime soon. Also, something interesting to add, YouTubers are making their way onto TV! If any of y’all watch Dancing with the Stars, a successful teenage YouTuber Bethany Mota competed this season with Derek Hough. Another example is YouTube beauty guru Ingrid Nilsen being a judge in the new Lifetime show “Project Runway: Threads.”


  8. I’m curious as to YouTube’s (Or Maybe it’s more along the lines of Google’s) relationship with the Apple Corporation.

    I remember several years ago when the standard iPhone package included an YouTube app already preloaded on the operating system. Additionally, it was one of those special apps that couldn’t be deleted.. However, with one of the new iOS updates (I’m inclined to say it was iOS6) the update deleted the app completely and if you wanted to have access to you tube you had to either go through safari or download the new app.

    Monologue aside, I was wondering if you happen to see anything about this in your research? Did Google and Apple have a partnership at one time? I would be surprised if they did since they are are mostly competitors when it comes to their products. Do you know if apple has a version of YouTube under their services?


    1. I didn’t come across this in my research but I did look it up just now. Google and Apple did have a license in which Apple took YouTube (which videos could not be viewed on a phone because of its need for Flash) and made it into an app for the iPhone. However, the sole developer of the app was Apple, not Google. Therefore, Google was not allowed to place any ads on the content that was being viewed through the app. When tensions between Apple and Google were high due to the competition between iPhones and Androids, Apple decided to remove Google Maps and shortly after their YouTube app from their products. That way, Apple was no longer supporting Google. Immediately after, Google made their own app that allowed them to place whatever advertisements they wanted.


  9. I find it impressive that people can manage to make a living through YouTube and especially the fact that this is often through video games, like your example. It is pretty crazy that the time spent by people playing and learning video games is worth so much money to advertisers as you explained, that they are willing to pay the makers of these videos to get people to view their ads. My brother was telling me about this once, however I had a hard time believing that there is that much value in having gamers view these ads. Seems like a very interesting note on YouTube video success.


  10. Angela, first off, who is your favorite YouTuber? And do you think YouTubers are running out of original content and being overrun by product placement and media and/or social influences? Do most YouTubers remain “authentic?” I know Tyler Oakley was skyrocketed to international stardom from his videos. He has pictures in magazines and is going on tour. It seems as if these internet sensations, like Tyler, can be equated to stars in Hollywood. Do you think the fame is beneficial or detrimental? Thanks!


  11. I agree that Youtube has been, and will continue to be, a very successful tool in the media world. Its easy means of uploading and sharing videos makes it a very powerful media source in spreading information and entertainment. I think a good example of this is the release of Beyonce’s visual album in 2013. Despite the album’s lack of promotion or announcement, it was still very successful due to Youtubers constantly viewing and sharing the album’s 17 videos with others (and Beyonce’s fabulous star power of course).


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s