From elephants to dancing babies: YouTube’s evolution at 10
YouTube’s evolution has moved it from a video hub to a place where people celebrate their passions and brands can reach vast, diverse audiences.
Ten years ago, 26-year-old Jawed Karim made a video of himself standing in front of some elephants at San Diego Zoo. When the 19-second clip went live a few weeks later on a new video-sharing platform Karim had been testing, it set in motion a seismic shift in the way we consume and publish video content. At that moment, YouTube was born.
According to Karim, the inspiration for creating YouTube came from two very different events in 2004: the Asian tsunami and Janet Jackson’s famous wardrobe malfunction at the Super Bowl half-time show. Despite both events being extensively filmed and widely reported, Karim found locating the footage difficult. He raised the issue with two friends at a San Francisco dinner party, and the three of them set about creating a solution.
While YouTube made it’s public debut in 2005, fast forward to today, and the platform – now owned by Google – is very different. Today it has more than a billion monthly viewers, and 300 hours of video are uploaded to it every minute. Half of daily views come from mobile devices.
I’m often surprised by the variety of ways people tell me they use YouTube. They especially love to use it to learn new things: facts for an exam; knitting; folding up a buggy; fixing electronic devices; dancing; painting model figures; tying a tie; getting a six-pack. Just the other week, I managed to fix my bike’s front derailleur, thanks to a YouTube video on my phone.
YouTube is also a place where we consume vast amounts of television content.With around 60% of views occurring outside the original uploader region, YouTube allows broadcasters to reach viewers on a global scale. In fact, a YouTube marketing campaign from the UK targeting 16-34 year-olds would reach more than 15 million individuals each month. Television personalities, too, are expanding their presence through online video. Jamie Oliver’s Food Tubechannel, for instance, has more than 1.5 million subscribers.
But we’re not only watching well-known faces. Thanks to the low costs of creating, distributing and marketing content online, new talent crops up on YouTube every day. Take Jamal Edwards, the brains behind SB.TV, a youth broadcasting and music production company that hosts its content on its eponymous YouTube channel. Edwards set up SB.TV as a teenager on a west London council estate and, by 24, was one of the youngest people to receive an MBE. SB.TV helped launch the career of multi-award winning British musician Ed Sheeran, and has featured other artists including Jessie J, Nicki Minaj and Pixie Lott.
For the advertising industry, YouTube has been revolutionary. For one thing, it allows brands to reach the consumer at the moment they need or want something specific. If, like I was, you’re searching for instructions on how to fix your bike, you might be in the market for a screwdriver, or a chain keeper. You might even want to buy a new bike. On YouTube, brands can respond to this need and surface as just the thing you’re looking for, just when you want it.
Brands have also been quick to embrace YouTube as a creative platform, delivering breakthrough, iconic advertising moments which have become a part of culture and conversation. Remember the Old Spice campaign, Three’s Dancing Ponies or Evian’s Babies? When we first launched our skippable TrueView video ad format, we weren’t sure if people would stay to watch. But we found that when ads are as engaging as content, people choose to watch them. In fact, last year four brands made it into the top 10 trending videos of the year. That’s helping to make this incredible tool free for anyone to use.
So, what will the future bring? The truth is, we don’t know. We don’t know because where we go will be driven by the visions of our creators and the interests of our users. One thing we do know is that the world is coming online. Currently, around 3 billion people have access to the internet. By 2020, we estimate that number will be 5 billion. That’s 5 billion potential YouTube contributors and 5 billion potential viewers. Where YouTube goes is limited only by their imagination.
Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/media-network/2015/may/18/youtube-turns-ten-video-brands-content