Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

YouTube Is Six Years Old and Huge: Three Billion Views a Day

Last year YouTube made a big deal of its fifth birthday, with a special Web site, special messages from the likes of Conan O’Brien, etc.

This year’s commemoration is more muted. Basically, just a blog post that notes that the site is really, really big.

How big, you ask?

  • YouTube users are now uploading 48 hours of video a minute. That’s up 37 percent in the last six months, and 100 percent in the last year. YouTube says the increase comes in part because it’s easier than ever to upload stuff, and in part because YouTube has started embracing lengthy live streaming sessions.
  • YouTube users are now watching more than 3 billion videos a day. That’s up 50 percent from the last year, which is also a huge leap, though the growth rate has declined a bit: Last year, views doubled from a billion a day to two billion in six months.

But if you really want context for YouTube’s growth, go back and check out what it was doing in its first year: In December 2005–when Lazy Sunday first hit, and the site had become a mainstream success–viewers were watching 2.5 million videos a month.

And since we’re going back in time, here are three historically important YouTube videos:

Here’s the first clip ever uploaded to the site, back in April 2005, from little-known co-founder Jared Karim:

And here’s the clip uploaded by Steve Chen and Chad Hurley in October 2006, announcing that they’d sold the site to Google:

And here’s Tillman the dog, a 2007 video that showed up in Apple’s early iPhone commercials, and ended up becoming shorthand for the site’s user generated content.

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I’m a giant vat of creative juices.

— David Pogue on why he’s joining Yahoo