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The YouTube story: how this 10-year-old has taken over the world

Aleesha Matharu | Updated on: 26 June 2015, 2:53 IST

It's hard to remember a time when footage of cats doing cat things, John Oliver's scathing videos and cops singing Taylor Swift songs wasn't just a click away.

But 10 years ago on February 14, 2005, YouTube had just registered its domain name. And on April 23 that year, the site's co-founder put up a 19-second clip called 'Me at the zoo' that is entirely forgettable except for one reason: it was YouTube's first.

Two things happened as an outcome of that: we now know how cool elephants are, and Karim is worth about $140 million.

YouTube itself is now owned by Google and is the world's third most-visited website after Google and Facebook.

It has turned unknowns into icons - think Psy, Justin Bieber and Rebecca Black - and helped bring relatively forgotten artists back into the bigtime; the day after Beck won a Grammy, his YouTube channel got two million views compared to 60,000 the week before. Here's a look at YouTube's ginormous footprint.


  • The number of YouTube users in the world. That's a third of all internet users on the planet
  • It's also rising exponentially: the number of people who visit YouTube daily goes up by 40% every year, mobile viewing by 90%
Youtube Prime Number


  • That's how much of YouTube's traffic comes from mobile devices
  • A Cisco Systems study estimates that by 2018, video will represent 69% of all mobile internet traffic - it's at 53% as of last year - which means YouTube's numbers aren't going to see a drop anytime soon


  • That's YouTube's estimated 2014 revenue
  • According to global investing firm Jefferies, the site valuation is between $26 billion and $40 billion. That means it's probably worth more than Twitter ($30 billion). Still a long way to go before they catch up with Google and Facebook, though, which are worth $400 billion and $200 billion respectively


  • That's how much video is uploaded to YouTube every minute
  • Or, you know, every episode of Friends ever made - all 236 of them - played three times over
  • As recently as 2010, it was just 24 hours of video a minute
YouTube Prime Number EMBED 3



  • That's how much video is watched on YouTube every month
  • That's roughly 4,50,000 years
Youtube prime number embed


    • That's how many years' worth of video material YouTube scans for copyright infringements daily, so if you were hoping to slide something under their nose, think again

      billion views

      (and counting)

      • That's how many times South Korean pop star Psy's Gangnam Style has been viewed on YouTube, and it rises each day
      • It's still the first and only video to have broken the two-billion mark
      • Even YouTube hadn't anticipated this scenario: in December 2014, Gangnam Style 'broke' the website's view counter. They previously used a 32-bit integer to count views, but have now been forced to change their coding to use a 64-bit integer



      • The second most viewed song - come on, really? - is Justin Beiber's Baby


      • That's YouTube's ranking on the most used search engines in the world, second only to Google
      • It has more users than Bing, Yahoo Ask and AOL put together
      • Although YouTube has smaller reach than Facebook, it is more widely used than LinkedIn, Google Plus and Twitter


      • The number of people who actually make money via the YouTube Partner Programme
      • There are more than a million channels in the programme, up from 30,000 in 2011


        • The number of subscribers to PewDiePie, making it, according to SocialBlade, the most popular channel on the site
        • It became - and has held - the top position since August 2013 and now has over eight billion video views
        • PewDiePie's estimated monthly earnings are between $84,000 and $1.4 million


        • That's the proportion of original videos uploaded in 2013 that were about a pet or an animal
        • Video marketing pros ReelSEO last year found there are approximately two million cat videos up on YouTube, with about 24.6 billion views between them. The position of leader of the free world may be up for grabs soon but it's undisputed: on YouTube, cats make cash counters ring.

        All illustrations by Itu Chaudhuri Design/Catch News

        First published: 25 June 2015, 2:16 IST
        Aleesha Matharu @almatharu

        Born in Bihar, raised in Delhi and schooled in Dehradun, Aleesha writes on a range of subjects and worked at The Indian Express before joining Catch as a sub-editor. When not at work you can find her glued to the TV, trying to clear a backlog of shows, or reading her Kindle. Raised on a diet of rock 'n' roll, she's hit occasionally by wanderlust. After an eight-year stint at Welham Girls' School, Delhi University turned out to be an exercise in youthful rebellion before she finally trudged her way to J-school and got the best all-round student award. Now she takes each day as it comes, but isn't an eternal optimist.

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