YouTube's 8-year anniversary: the evolution into a major media giant

Psy

Since 2005, YouTube has transformed itself from a small website where the average person could share home videos to the MTV of the 21st century.

Its first video was uploaded by YouTube co-founder Jawed Karim in April of 2005. It showed that the site was originally meant for amateurs to post videos about their daily lives. However, since 2010 the most-watched videos on the website have been from signed recording artists like Justin Bieber, Carly Rae Jepsen, Bruno Mars and South Korean pop sensation, Psy.

But how did this happen? Even after Google bought the online video service back in October 2006 for 1.65 billion dollars, it still was relatively the same until a few years later. Google gave YouTube the resources it needed to become a social media giant, but it was the experiments with big corporation that made them thrive.

An article by Business Insider, which shows key turning points in the history of YouTube, said that the website showed the potential to become an important promotional tool for businesses as early as September 2005 when a Nike commercial became the first video to hit 1 million viewers. As a result, Nike became one of the first major companies to use YouTube in their marketing campaigns.

A well-publicized dispute between YouTube and NBC in early 2006 was also a turning point. NBC asked YouTube to remove a Saturday Night Live clip called “Lazy Sunday” due to copyright infringement. In October 2007, YouTube introduced the Content Verification Program to help businesses find and remove videos that infringe on copyrights. Shortly afterward, NBC put aside their differences and became one of YouTube’s first partners by allowing them to promote the fall TV lineup.

The deal YouTube made with NBC marked the beginning of the website’s many partnerships with content providers. The website launched its Partner Program, which pays users for their viral content in 2007. It became possible for businesses, as well as everyday people, to make money off of the videos they upload on YouTube. Recently, they have allowed members of the partnership program to charge customers for yearly subscriptions.

Despite it’s success, YouTube had some pitfalls along the way. For instance, the site spent over $100 million on the creation of 100 channels, some of which were owned by original YouTube creators while others were owned by mainstream celebrities. The celebrity-built channels, such as Shaquille O’Neal’s comedy “Shaq,” and Ashton Kutcher’s “The Thrash Lab,” failed to reach expectations. This showed that YouTube audiences would not just watch a show because it had a celebrity’s name in the title. Instead, they wanted to watch people like themselves uploading their own original content.

Whether their clients share videos on site or not, it is crucial for internet marketing companies to know what is trending on YouTube. Like MTV before it, YouTube is the key to finding out what’s going on in pop culture. However, YouTube displays view counts and allows viewers to make comments, making it even better than MTV. By searching through the highest rated videos, these Internet marketing companies can see what works and what doesn’t. They can find inspiration for their own advertising endeavors.

Nobody knows how YouTube will evolve next, but one thing’s for certain: it’s not going away any time soon. On its blog, the video-hosting site announced that more than 100 hours of video were uploaded every minute, and that number is expected to grow. So here’s to eight more years!

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