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YouTube 1st decade shows sharing free content pays off

YouTube 1st decade shows sharing free content pays off

SAN FRANCISCO: YouTube’s legacy extends beyond its pioneering role in the Internet’s video revolution.

YouTube’s rapid rise demonstrated that influential media hubs could be built around free content supplied by an Internet service’s users. Other companies that went on to embrace a similar strategy included Facebook, which limited its online social network to college and high school students until opening up the service to anyone 13 or older beginning in September 2006. That was just before YouTube’s whirlwind success culminated in its $1.76 billion sale to Google Inc.

In the spirit of sharing popularised by YouTube, here are a few moments to remember from the site’s first decade:

MAJOR MILESTONES: Nike ad called “Touch of Gold” became the first video on the site to be watched 1 million times. The dance video “Gangnam Style” became the first YouTube video to surpass 1bn views in 2012. It still reigns as the site’s most-watched video at 2.3bn views.

In 2007, about six hours of video footage was being transferred to YouTube every minute. Now, about 300 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube each minute, or about 432,000 hours per day. That means it would take about 49 years to watch all the videos posted on YouTube on a typical day.

VIDEO PIRATES: Shortly after being bought by Google, YouTube built an automated detection system that prevents most unauthorised clips from appearing on its site.

THE BIG WINDFALL: In need of additional computing power and legal protection against the pirating claims, YouTube’s founders decided to sell in 2006. The purchase price was originally set at $1.65bn in Google stock, but the value of the shares had climbed by the time the deal closed in November 2006 to set the final price at $1.76bn.

The biggest winners were co-founders Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim, who collectively received nearly $700 million in Google stock.

WHAT IT’S WORTH NOW: The research firm eMarketer projects YouTube will sell about $4.3bn in advertising this year, after subtracting commissions and licensing fees. That would translate into about 7pc of Google’s projected revenue of $60bn this year after subtracting advertising commissions.

If it were an independent company, YouTube likely would be worth at least $20bn, based on investors’ assessment of Netflix, the Internet’s leading video subscription service. Netflix currently has a market value of $37bn, or about 5.5 times its projected revenue this year.

Published in Dawn, May 26th, 2015

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