If you’re looking for a video on the internet and it’s not on YouTube, chances are it doesn’t exist. The video giant has seen unprecedented growth the past few years and it’s showing no signs of stopping. It’s just surpassed the monumental mark of one billion hours of video watched each and every day. That’s equivalent to over 114,000 years of content consumed daily.
To keep up with YouTube viewers’ insatiable appetite for media, content creators upload 65 years worth of video every day as well.
Since 2012, YouTube viewership has increased tenfold and is now fast approaching TV’s viewership numbers. Estimates are that Americans watch 1.25 billion hours of TV every day, but that number has been in decline. YouTube’s growth has many contributing factors, but most important is its close relationship to other Google products.
YouTube videos are shown at the top of Google search results and the YouTube app comes pre-installed on Android phones. Google handles about 93% of internet searches and Android accounts for 88% of all smartphones, so it’s no surprise that so many people flock to YouTube every day. Netflix and Facebook both estimate their users watch about 100 million hours of content each day to give you some additional perspective.
YouTube plays ads before videos to make money, sharing that revenue with content creators, but they are still barely breaking even. Huge running costs, R&D investments to create new search algorithms, and content rights fees add up. With tailored results, users are watching fewer videos, but staying on them longer. Computer scientists have also voiced concerns about the lack of content diversity that YouTube’s algorithm offers, but that’s unlikely to change overnight.