Five years ago, a little video site called YouTube was launched with a single video called, simply, “Me at the zoo.”
Today, YouTube is the world’s third-most visited website, and averages 2 billion — yes, billion — video views a day. As the official YouTube blog notes, that’s close to double the amount of prime-time viewers for the three big TV networks combined.
Hulu, the popular online site for watching television shows, plans to begin testing a subscription service as soon as May 24, according to people with knowledge of the plans.
Under the proposal, Hulu would continue to provide for free the five most recent episodes of shows like Fox’s “Glee,” “ABC’s “Lost” or NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.” But viewers who want to see additional episodes would pay $9.95 a month to access a more comprehensive selection, called Hulu Plus, these people said.
Hulu currently ranks only behind YouTube when it comes to online viewers. It will be interesting to see what this new plan does to their traffic.
Immediately following the unveiling of the FCC’s national broadband plan next Tuesday, Chairman Julius Genachowski will be fielding questions on YouTube about the plan and the FCC’s steps moving forward. Questions can be submitted via CitizenTube.
Via the New York Times, Tufts University has changed its admission policy to allow would-be students to include YouTube videos about themselves as part of their application:
Lee Coffin, the dean of undergraduate admissions, said the idea came to him last spring, when watching a YouTube video someone had sent him. “I thought, ‘If this kid applied to Tufts, I’d admit him in a minute, without anything else,’” Mr. Coffin said.
For their videos, some students sat in their bedroom and talked earnestly into the camera, while others made day-in-the-life montages, featuring buddies, burgers and lacrosse practice. A budding D.J. sent clips from one of his raves, with a suggestion that such parties might be welcome at Tufts.
Via BetaNews comes a new study from Allot Communications that finds mobile broadband increased a startling 72% worldwide in the second half of 2009 alone. Leading the charge was YouTube, which was responsible for 10% of worldwide mobile broadband use.
This rapid increase of mobile broadband traffic shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, as CNet reports, Cisco is predicting an outright landslide in mobile traffic:
By 2014, researchers predict, mobile data traffic throughout the world will reach 3.6 exabytes per month, or an annual run rate of 40 exabytes. This is a 39-fold increase from 2009 to 2014, or a compound annual growth rate of 108 percent.
Researchers believe that the amount of data traffic traversing the mobile network by 2014 will be equal about 1 billion DVDs. By comparison that is about the equivalent of 133 times all the data that has ever been transmitted across a mobile network since networks first were launched in the 1980s until today.
In further evidence of the rising influence of online video, a California federal judge has ruled that next week’s trial over the state’s controversial Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage, can be broadcast on YouTube.
The arrival of the video game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 wasn’t just a boon for retailers (and the game’s publisher). Microsoft has announced that just after the popular online shooter’s release, the company’s Xbox Live service—which connects players around the world so they can shoot at each other virtually (among other things)—immediately broke its previous record of two million connected users all at once.
That’s a lot of fragging hitting networks all at once.
Speaking of data hitting networks hard, online video giant YouTube has just revealed that starting next week, videos will be available for streaming in 1080p HD. Previously, only a “paltry” 720p was supported. Hopefully, the tubes will be able to keep up with the sudden surge in data.
Via the New York Times comes some new information about just how popular YouTube is. You might want to sit down:
[O]n the third anniversary of its $1.65 billion deal to sell itself to Google, YouTube is saying, in a sense, you may be underestimating us. The company released more precise viewing figures than it had in the past, saying it serves more than 1 billion videos a day, or roughly 30 billion in a month.
30 billion videos a month. Wow.
As impressive as that is, however, it’s not all rosy news today for the online video giant. As Read Write Web reports, YouTube may soon face a major spamming problem:
Researchers at Kaspersky Lab have recorded a mass mailing of spam emails containing a link to a video advertisement on YouTube. Although in the past, spammers have have attempted to lure people into clicking links by claiming the link would display a YouTube video, this is the first case in which the link actually did.
Video spam could be a major — and highly complicated — problem, especially given the way YouTube’s parent company Google crosses streams between both search and videos.
With DVD sales falling, Hollywood studios are looking to make up revenue. Enter YouTube, which the Wall Street Journal reports, is floating the idea to Hollywood of streaming movie rentals.
Given the sheer number of people who regularly visit YouTube, the new service could prove to be massively popular. The question is, would there be enough bandwidth available to handle a potential barrage of data-intensive content?
As the traditional journalism model continues to crumble, new means for dispensing information continue to expand. Enter YouTube, which has already seen a significant jump in uploaded videos following the release of the latest video-capable iPhone, and has now started an initiative to train “citizen journalists” on how to better report the news. From the YouTube blog:
The YouTube Reporters’ Center... features some of the nation’s top journalists sharing instructional videos with tips and advice for better reporting. Learn how to prepare for an interview from CBS News’ Katie Couric; how to be an investigative reporter from the legendary Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward, or why it’s important for citizens to participate in the news-gathering process from Arianna Huffington. And definitely don’t miss out on New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof’s video on how to report from a crisis area without getting shot.
Last week Apple released the newest version of its popular iPhone. Included in the new hardware is the ability to upload videos from the phone directly to YouTube. The result? A staggering 400% jump in uploads to the site.
In other words, this whole mobile video thing might just catch on.
Online video content has proved hard to fully track. YouTube has been especially tough to nail down, since Google traditionally keeps numbers quiet. Recently, ComScore released data stating YouTube streams total somewhere around 7 billion videos per month in the U.S. alone, or close to 225 million streams a day.
That’s a lot of video passing through the pipes. But according to TechCrunch, YouTube’s global streams are even more startling:
[T]he real number of streams/day, we’ve now confirmed with a source at Google, is above 1.2 billion/day worldwide. That matches what we’ve heard from other sources. That pretty much means everyone on the Internet, on average, is watching one YouTube video per day.
TechCrunch estimates that the total number of videos being streamed online around the world is now close to 80 billion a month. Think about that: 80 billion videos being streamed over networks each and every month. That’s 960 billion videos a year.
Those numbers aren’t going to go down; they are only going to increase. As the Federal government crafts a national broadband strategy, it is essential that they and we consider the Nets’ rapid evolution to a video platform.
TechCrunch wonders if one of the most popular websites in the world was sold too late:
There are a handful of industry-changing Web 2.0 names including MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn. But unlike those other Web 2.0 behemoths who have the luxury of waiting out revenue challenges as their user base surges and the economy recovers, YouTube’s runaway success meant extremely high bandwidth costs and legal worries early on. It’s one of the only companies in that list that should have sold early while the momentum was high.
Evidence: Nearly three years after the acquisition, the mighty Google still hasn’t figured out exactly how to monetize all those eyeballs either. Industry estimates say YouTube spends half a billion or more a year in bandwidth costs. That’s not to say it was a bad acquisition, particularly considering Google’s stock currency was tantamount to monopoly money back then. But you have to wonder, if YouTube were alive today, how much more would it have been forced to raise and at what terms?
The web has led to a flood of free content. But from newspapers to video sites like YouTube, the question remains: How do you make money?
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