Thoughts from Blog-ingham

YouTube 5 Years on – Leave the Lunatics Running the Asylum – They’re doing a Good Job

Posted in Current Affairs, Internet, People, Social Media, Uncategorized, Web 2.0, YouTube by adamellis1985 on February 15, 2010

Introduction

I was browsing my Twitter feed yesterday afternoon and I noticed a link posted by @guardiantech, which was entitled, “YouTube’s fifth birthday: watch its top five videos.” It stirred a few thoughts in my mind that I will explore in this blog post.

Firstly, it made me realise how incredible YouTube’s growth has been in such a short period of time. Secondly, it made me rather nostalgic about how many great things I have seen on YouTube and I will share some of those with you in the same way The Guardian did. And finally, it made me slightly concerned about the ever expanding Internet juggeranut that is Google. As Google continues to expand, steamrolling the Internet landscape, re-inventing the YouTube commercial model and simultaneously looking for its’ return on investment, I fear we may lose some of the things that have endeared us to that site for the past five years. YouTube is a crazy and bizarre place at times but that is one of the things that has made it so great. The people behind the videos are YouTube and without them it’s nothing.

Happy Birthday YouTube – My, How You’ve Grown

So, YouTube has reached the tender toddler age of five years old. I can imagine many teenagers wondering what came before YouTube in that space. And the answer really is, not much. Google bought YouTube for $1.65bn in 2006 less than a year after its launch but is still working on ways to make money out of it. At that time, 100 million videos were views every day and 72 million people visited the site each day. YouTube now streams a monstrous 1 billion videos a day. It’s a scary figure and I can’t get my head round it. It’s growth is quite simply astronomical and causes quite a headache for ISP’s providing the bandwidtch to cope with their customers appetitie for an ever expanding library of online video content. If you want to see how far YouTube has come, check out the Web Archive where you can check back month on month to see what the site used to look like. YouTube is now of the most visited websites in the world sitting at number 3 for 2009 behind only its parent company Google and of course, Facebook. People my age have grown up with YouTube and found amateur videos that are inspiring, cringeworthy, hilarious, sad, endearing and sometimes outrageous. Here are just a few of the best videos I have viewed on YouTube over the last few years:

The Battle of the Kruger

Filmed by holidaymakers in the Kruger National Park in South Africa, this is an incredible video and probably something that even the professionals would struggle to find themselves in the right place at the right time to film. It is a once in a lifetime clip.

Where the Hell is Matt?

This is one of the most heartwarming, life-me-up videos I have ever come across. I don’t really know why but I just like it. Perhaps it’s because a guy called Matt has decided to do a silly dance in many countries across the world and invited anyone who lives there to do it with him. Simple but brilliant. YouTube is the perfect forum to share it. If you want to find out more about Matt and how he made the videos and the story behind it, then check out his website.

100 Greatest Hits of YouTube in 4 minutes

For me this video sums up what YouTube is all about. It is an eclectic (substitute electic for other adjectives such as, crazy, mental or bizarre where applicable) mix of brilliant amateur clips that you just wouldn’t have seen before YouTube came along.

Google and a Changing Commerical Model

This leads me on to my final point which is about what YouTube represents and why people like it? YouTube is changing the way we consume online content and moving beyond the amateurish realms of videos of babies giggling and having 50 million people view it. Google is looking for its ROI by using YouTube as a plaform for much more than your average person sharing their holiday videos. More and more online content consumption is via video. Google is not missing a trick here and is raising YouTube into a fully fledged adult capable of bringing in massive revenue streams to get its’ return on investment. YouTube recently announced the rights to stream Inidan Premier League Cricket. The two-year deal gives the Google-owned YouTube the exclusive rights to stream IPL matches online, with the two companies splitting revenue from sponsorship and advertising.  YouTube are moving into content areas traditionally owned by broadcasters such as BBC and Sky and they must be looking over their shoulders now at the Google backed video giant wondering how they can compete in the future. This move was on the back of YouTube moving into the live music market and winning the rights to U2 broadcasting their gig at the Pasadena Bowl, in California, in October via YouTube, to fans in 16 countries around the world.  Google has been making its mark on YouTube, professionalising it and moving it beyond the You’ve Been Framedesque amateur clips. Furthermore, the expansion of corporates into YouTube for having their own communications or marketing channels has also been noticeable. YouTube now even features a Corporate Brand Channel, which teaches you how to plan online marketing campaigns. YouTube styles itself as being a “powerful, creative and efficient partner for your next campaign.” (Source: http://www.youtube.com/user/advertise)

Don’t Like Change

All this is fine and Google needs to make its money back and the new channels on music concerts, live sport and online events streamed via YouTube only adds another dimesion to the its appeal. But what attracted us all to YouTube in the first place was the appeal of seeing normal people (well, people anyway) sharing their amusing, uplifting or downright deranged video clips. I just hope Google doesn’t ever take that precious channel away, as I know I for one would miss it!

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