Are you looking forward to or dreading this Valentine’s Day? Regardless of your plans, there may be another reason to celebrate this special date on the calendar. You’re probably already engaged on a daily basis to this ubiquitous object of affection anyway, which coincidentally is observing a milestone anniversary.
This Valentine’s Day, the video-sharing giant YouTube celebrates its 10th anniversary, birthed in February 2005 by its founders, former PayPal employees Steve Chen, Jawed Karim and Chad Hurley. We can thank Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction for the initial inspiration for the inception, and later the devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, both of which sent Karim in a head spin as he sought—to no avail—video clips of each of these events online.
Since its humble beginnings, which began with the first-ever 19-second video—“Me at the Zoo”—launched by co-founder Karim in April 23, 2005, YouTube is now the turn-to forum for watching and sharing videos that connect users to people, places and events across the globe. Today, more than one billion users visit YouTube monthly with most of the online traffic originating outside of the US. Even more staggering, YouTube reports more than four billion video views a day.
There is no doubt that many of us have an ongoing love affair with YouTube, meeting up numerous times or at least once daily for a rendezvous either first-thing in the morning, on our lunch hour or when we collapse in our bed at night. I’m guilty of spending countless hours watching SNL skits, my favorite American Idol performances, how-to videos on making crafts, cats and toddlers doing cute things, historical events like the Ferguson, MO riots and drunken people falling all over the place. We hear about a viral video and we instantly turn to YouTube to share in its popularity. Remember the video of baby Charlie biting his big brother’s finger and then giggling? It hit YouTube in May 2007, garnering more than a billion views.
Here are a few significant milestones/statistics in YouTube’s history:
- First one million-hit video in September 2005 – Nike ad featuring Brazilian soccer player Ronaldinho receiving his pair of Golden Boots
- Google acquires YouTube for $1.65 billion in October 2006
- Justin Bieber becomes YouTube sensation in April 2009 with one of the most-watched videos at over 820 million views
- YouTube begins renting movies in January 2010
- Live streaming starts in April 2011 – The Summer Olympics of July 2012 streams live for the first time for online users
- Gangnam Style video is most-viewed video as of October 2014 – More than 2 billion views
- 100 hours of video uploaded every minute
- Localized in 61 countries and across 61 languages
Whether you have Valentine’s Day plans or not, you can always snuggle up with YouTube to help mark a decade of inspiring or entertaining videos. Or maybe you have the ideal video in mind for sparking ridiculous laughter. Please share your favorites!
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Elaine Veltri — Editor/Writer