Tue, 20 Aug, 2019

How Big is YouTube?

By Rojan Maharjan

Picture Courtesy: Rojan Maharjan

When someone asks you to name the biggest websites, what pops into your head? Google? Facebook? Twitter? YouTube? Well, YouTube is one of the most common answers to that question, but most people don’t realize just how big YouTube is. Almost everyone uses YouTube, maybe for information, maybe just to listen to music, or maybe even to learn something, but people still use it every day. YouTube is not just a place to watch cat videos anymore. Over the years, it has grown to be one of the most popular media platforms for anything from sharing personal videos with friends to releasing music videos to even studying.

So how big is YouTube? This question first got me curious when I noticed that my mom regularly started watching her TV shows on YouTube instead of watching it on the TV. It was just that much more convenient for her. It’s not affected by load shedding, and she doesn’t have to wait through the commercials. She could watch it on her phone or laptop anytime she wanted. It also made me realize that my TV and I weren’t the best friends we once were. Just a couple of years ago, I used to spend endless hours every day watching TV. Now, I do that with YouTube. It is my preferred source for research or entertainment, which I’m sure is the case for many others as well.

One of the major factors which caused YouTube to be very popular among the Nepali people is that it can stream videos on even the slower networks. It buffers its videos much faster than any other website and it is all because of the cache servers that Google installed in Nepal in 2011. The trend to make YouTube channels has also increased in Nepal. Popular channels like Music Nepal already have 473 million views on their channel (source: YouTube Statistics for Nepal, SocialBakers.com). The number of Nepali YouTube singers and entertainers are increasing daily.

If YouTube was classified as a search engine, then it would be bigger than Bing, Yahoo! Search and Ask.com combined, coming in second only to Google search. YouTube has given the opportunity to thousands of people to make a living out of it. YouTubers earn through views, ad revenues, and sponsorship or endorsing of products. The biggest YouTuber, PewDiePie earned roughly 7.4 million dollars in just the last year. If PewDiePie’s subscribers were a country, then his country would be the 39th most populated country in the world. This gives a glimpse of just how big YouTube is.

By the end of 2015, an average of 400 hours of video was uploaded to YouTube every minute. That is more than an average person’s yearly media consumption. YouTube has over 1 billion users, which is one-third of the entire Internet’s users. Charlie bit my finger is still the most viewed video (Non-music) on YouTube with over 838 million views. That figure seems small when compared with the 2.5 billion views which the Gangnam Style got. YouTube is available locally in more than 70 countries, including YouTube Nepali. It is bigger than any cable network, anywhere. This is all even more astounding when you realize that YouTube started as a dating service in 2005. You can check how the site looked back then by clicking here.

So, to sum it all up and to answer my own question, YouTube is big. Very Big.