YouTube is one of the largest and most popular video distribution platforms on the Internet.
It has more than 4 billion hours worth of video viewers every month, and an estimated 500 hours of video content are uploaded to YouTube every passing minute.
The founders of YouTube are Steve Chen, Chad Hurley, and Jawed Karim. The trio were all early employees of PayPal, which left them enriched after the company was bought by eBay.
Chad Hurley studied design at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania prior to joining Ebay's PayPal division after graduating in 1999.
At Paypal, he primarily focused on the user experience of their interface.
Steven Shih Chen was born in Taiwan. His family emigrated to the U.S. when he was eight years old. Steve left the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy prior to graduating.
He later attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he graduated in 2002 with a degree in computer science.
Jawed Karim was born in East Germany. His father was Bangladeshi, and his mother was German.
After experiencing xenophobia in Germany, his father moved the family to Saint Paul, Minnesota, in 1992.
Jawed would later study computer science at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, but left prior to graduating.
While at Paypal, he continued his coursework and eventually graduated with a degree in computer science, and went on to earn a master's degree in computer science from Stanford University.
How YouTube Was Created
Hurley and Chen developed the idea for YouTube during the early months of 2005, after they had experienced difficulty sharing videos that had been shot at a dinner party at Chen's apartment in San Francisco.
Karim said the inspiration for YouTube first came from the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show controversy. Karim could not easily find video clips of the incident and the devastating tsunami in the Indian Ocean, which led to the idea of a video-sharing site.
Hurley and Chen said that the original idea for YouTube was a video version of an online dating service, and had been influenced by the website Hot or Not.
They created posts on Craigslist asking attractive women to upload videos of themselves to YouTube in exchange for a $100 reward.
Difficulty in finding enough dating videos led to a change of plans, with the site's founders deciding to accept uploads of any type of video.
By February of 2005, YouTube's now-famous logo was registered as a trademark, and the website domain name was also purchased.
In December of the same year, YouTube officially launched out of its beta status.
This is thanks, in part, to a multi-million investment from Sequoia Capital enabling them to improve their servers with increased bandwidth.
The Name YouTube
Before being called YouTube, it was being named "Tune In, Hook Up", as YouTube was chosen to be an online dating site before.
Since it was unsuccessful, the plans changed to a website where you can create and upload your own videos.
The “You” represents that the content is user-generated, created by individual users and not the site itself.
The word “Tube” was sort of slang in the 80s or the 90s for TV or Television.
Combining these two words makes sense as “You Are The TV” or “TV With You” or “YourTV”. Hence, YouTube.
How Does YouTube Make Money?
Since YouTube is a business, it needs to make money. But how exactly does YouTube do it?
Before being purchased by Google, YouTube had declared a monthly income of somewhere in the region of $15 million.
When Google acquired the site back in 2006, it was a long way from actually being a profitable business. But profitability wasn't the main reason that Google snapped them up.
Google saw the potential for the platform as an online video service. By combining YouTube's platform with Google's enormous internet traffic, the investment would pay off.
Google eventually added their Google ads service to video content on the platform in a bid to bring in some much-needed revenue from the site.
After this, YouTube was making somewhere in the region of $200 million annually, owing to progress in advertising sales.
Google began to embed targeted advertising directly into the video clips that its users watched, as well as promoting featured content. This was later replaced by running paid ads before a video began playing.
The company has also recently added the "two-ads" feature, which shows two ads at once, to beef up potential revenue from the content.
Other than that, YouTube also pulls in money through its subscriber-based model called YouTube Premium, known as YouTube Red back then. YouTube premium includes music premium service, and paid TV service.
This service offers users exclusive benefits, like removing ads, and charges subscribers a regular subscription fee.
How YouTube Became Successful.
Google acquiring YouTube, and having companies advertise their products and such on YouTube is not the only reason why it managed to become successful.
In September 2005, YouTube got its first one million-hit video.
The video was a Nike ad that went viral. It was a clip of Brazilian soccer player Ronaldinho receiving his pair of Golden Boots. Nike was also one of the first major companies to embrace YouTube's promotional potential.
In 2007, YouTube launched its Partner Program to let people get paid for their viral content.
This was the first time YouTube made it possible for everyday people to turn their hobbies into a business.
About a year later, the most successful users were earning six-figure incomes from YouTube,
Michael Buckley, for example, was able to quit his day job after he realized his YouTube show, The What The Buck Show, earned him more money than the salary from his job as an administrative assistant at a music promotion company.
In July 2012, people all over the world were able to watch a live stream of the Olympics for the first time ever.
For the Summer Olympics, YouTube powered NBC's online video experience to let users watch any event live. You could also access the footage from essentially any device, be that your computer, mobile phone, or tablet.