Even though YouTube has already achieved its place in history, many media pundits don’t take it seriously. Some go as far as to discredit it, according to Owen Hemswath, YouTube expert and social media marketing expert. “There’s certainly a battle going on between streaming media, which is where YouTube is the leader, and the mainstream establishment,” Hemswath said. “It’s all about ad revenue. We’re seeing a global audience developing on YouTube, which means American advertisers can reach a whole new audience.”
Ad executives are seeing what’s happening, and they’re not happy. They wish YouTube would disappear, but that’s not likely to happen. “Last year, ad execs saw something like $20 billion in ad revenue go from major networks to YouTube,” Hemswath said. “What the network decision makers don’t realize is that YouTube artists are no different than movie and TV stars. The problem was they were never able to get past the network gatekeepers. This is particularly true of singers, where talent is expected to take the conventional path. They’re expected to get record contracts on major labels and move through conventional channels. But that’s not true on YouTube. YouTube stars like the Piano Guys, for example, can sell their DVDs and CDs directly to their audience. It’s not too dissimilar to what happened to Napster and the music industry 10 years ago.”
Hemswathis not surprised by YouTube’s success. He knew it would come into its own, it was just a question of time. “Initially, its creators saw it as a technology for storing online videos,” Hemswath said. But it didn’t take them long to change their minds. But I doubt if YouTube’s visionaries ever imagined it would become the global economic powerhouse it is today.
“When YouTube was just starting, Google was still in its infancy,” Hemswath said. “Today, YouTube is owned by Google and it’s the second largest search engine in the world. Next to Google, global citizens are going to YouTube.com to search for the things they are looking for, whether it’s a tutorial, recipe, funny cat video or TV shows. It’s hard to imagine the countless ways YouTube can be used.”
For starters, YouTube is a limitless multimedia educational medium. What better way to archive our past than through video? YouTube can chronicle our past, present, and its got its hands on the pulse of the future. And the technology gets better every year. As Hemswath sees it, the best is yet to come. I agree.
To show you how far YouTube has come, take a look at this partial chronology of events, facts and statistics in the technology’s short history. They were compiled by social media marketing expert Jeff Bullas.
1. YouTube was created by Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim in 2005 who were employees of Paypal at the time.
2. YouTube was initially funded by bonuses received following the eBay buy-out of PayPal.
3. But the founding trio is not credited with YouTube’s original concept. Reportedly, YouTube began life as a video dating site called, “Tune In Hook Up.” Thankfully, the founders decided to take the concept down a different road.
4. The inspiration for YouTube as it’s known today is credited to two different events. The first was Karim’s inability to find footage online of Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction,” and the second was Hurley and Chen were unable to share video footage of a dinner party due to e-mail attachment limitations.
5. The domain name YouTube.com was registered on Valentine’s Day in 2005.
6. The domain name caused a huge misunderstanding for Universal Tube & Rollform Equipment. Its company domain, “utube.com,” was overwhelmed with traffic from people who tried to spell the video site’s name phonetically.
7. The first video on YouTube is of one of the co-founders, Jawed Karim, talking about elephant’s trunks, titled “Me at the Zoo,” shot at the San Diego Zoo.
8. The first video received more than 4.8 million views.
9. Google paid $1.65 billion for YouTube in November 2006.
10. Google serves over 6 times more videos than its next closest competitor, according to Nielsen.
11. Google’s auto-speech recognition technology translates 51 languages including captions.
12. YouTube longest video is 48 hours (2 days).
13. The how-to category is YouTube’s fastest growing vertical.
14. YouTube has more than 490 million unique visitors worldwide per month, and it generates an estimated 92 billion page views each month.
15. The average YouTube user visits the site 14 times per month,and spends an average of 25 minutes on the site each time he or she visits.
16. The average user spends 5 hours and 50 minutes per month (not as much as Facebook)
17. More video is uploaded to YouTube in 60 days than the 3 major U.S. networks created in 60 years.
18. Seventy percent of YouTube traffic comes from outside the U.S.
19. YouTube is localized in 25 countries across 43 languages.
20. It’s hard to get a firm, updated handle on YouTube’s demographic. It’s roughly 18-54 years old. But it’s probably much larger than that.
That’s only a tiny sampling of its chronology and accomplishments. But it gives us an accurate glimpse of its extraordinary impact and accomplishments.
Several studies suggest YouTube is the second largest search engine on the planet, according to Dan Farkas, aninstructor of Strategic Communication at Ohio University and former TV reporter and anchor.
Fargas said that YouTube is a missed opportunity for brands to reach potential customers. “Eventually, brands will figure out the operational challenges of multimedia storytelling out, rely on YouTube more, and increase consumer interest in this realm,” he said.
From a learning perspective, Fargas uses a gym analogy. “For every three people you see working out, one has a newspaper or magazine, one has headphones and is listening to something, and one person watches TV,” he said. “As an educator, I feel like I have to appease all three learners; that means having quality video content that supports the readings. This will only grow as we do a better job of creating multimedia content.”
The real barrier is creating quality content, Fargas said. “Many people aren't versed in visual storytelling and struggle to create watchable content. Once people get more comfortable learning how to do this (that could take a while), online video will explode even more.”
YouTube is a modern phenomenon, according to Fargas. The social media platform’s original concept is rumoured to have been inspired by the idea of being a video dating site with the unlikely title of “Tune in Hook Up”. In the end, it launched as a simple video sharing site that has helped reinvent the web from a one- way static channel to an interactive web eco-system (along with social networking channels such as MySpace, Facebook and Twitter) that has enticed and compelled us to engage globally with other internet users using a variety of rich multi-media and social sharing platforms.
Initially, Youtube was about viral videos that just entertain, YouTube is now much more than that. It’s “How To” category is touted as one of the fastest growing segments on the social-video sharing channel. The most exciting — not to mention historic — aspect about the technology is that YouTube reinvents itself every year. Even the futurists can only guess what’s ahead.
If there is a hot, emerging technology that’s yet to come into its own it’s YouTube. Unlike many formidable technologies that languished for several years — even decades before they were appreciated, developed, and mass produced — YouTube was immediately accepted and enjoyed a welcome reception. But its proponents only saw the technology for what it was at the time. Many felt it had a long way to go. Many pundits weren’t quite sure what the next step was in its evolution.
Not Owen Hemswath, a social-media marketing expert that saw YouTube’s potential as soon as it debuted. Like many farsighted tchnies, he envisioned YouTube’s future, and he wanted to be part of its development, and to be a major player its technology and marketing. Hemswath calls himself, a “YouTuber,” which is far more than a staunch, unflichable believer in YouTube’s concept, but as playing an active an aggressive role in building its brand on a global scale. Along with knowing more about the technology that many of its developers, Hemswath manages channels for online celebrities and brands and specializes in sponsorships, ad revenue, and audience developement. He’s created multiple viral videos, managed major channels, and have created hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales from his own channel and the channels he manages. “YouTube is nor a social media channel with video functions nor is it a video-on-demand platform with social media functions or is it even a portfolio site with a broadcasting feature,” Hemswath said. “YouTube is YouTube. It is it's own beast.”
Hemswath said very few professionals understand that YouTube is still on the cutting edge of video marketing. With over 300 minutes of video uploaded every minute, YouTube has created celebrities out of nobody's while actively stealing ad revenue away from network and cable television. Additionally, YouTube live allows anyone with a webcam to broadcast video live on the internet in real time -- a feature that before was a privileged granted by the gatekeepers of the traditional media system.
But if you ask Hemswath’s Dad his opinon of YouTube, he’ll tell you YouTube is for 16-year- olds. And he’s not alone. In the blogs that follow, I’m going to pass along some telling facts, stats, and projections for the YouTube phenomenon.
Winding down. The obvious question is, “Why do low- to no-meaning list stories get so much space and air time?” The answer is balance, a vitally important consideration for TV producers. Balance refers to the mix of horrific, chilling stories against soapy, gossipy, Hollywood, celeb stories about the rich and famous that we love to read and hear about, and the feel-good do-gooder stories that make everyone feel warm, secure and thinking, “all is good, people really aren’t that bad.”
On the story ranking order, the most and least stressful jobs are great filler content. It catches people’s attention because of our fascination with lists, and as far as the quality of the content is concerned, the stories can be likened to chewing gum or breath mints, which taste good, but have no nutritional value. Similarly, it’s hard to believe that lists of most and least stressful jobs have any impact on people’s jobs. Does anyone choose a job because of its stress level? Doubtful.
Speaking from personal experience, the daily stress of earning a living as a reporter was the last thing on my mind 40 years ago when I decided to be a journalist. I never gave it a thought. Does someone contemplating pursuing a career as a police officer say to himself, “I don’t think I want to do this because it is dangerous.” “Dangerous” is an understatement. Virtually every day police officers are on the street, they’re putting themselves in harm’s way. If that isn’t stressful, I don’t know what is. Newbie law enforcement officers know what they’re getting into. They don’t need a list to remind them of that fact of life.
In the big scheme of things, the lists of most and least stressful jobs are meaningless because any job, even the most mundane, routine and boring job can trigger stress in some people. The American Psychological Association (www.apa.org) said “Any job can have stressful elements, even if you love what you do.” “… when work stress becomes chronic, it can be overwhelming — and harmful to both physical and emotional health,” the APA reported.
The American Institute of Stress (www.stress.org) is often asked to put together lists of the most and least stressful occupations. “Such ranking have little importance for several reasons,” said AIS researchers. “It is not the job but the person-environment fit that matters. Some individuals thrive in the time-urgent pressure cooker of life in the fast lane, having to perform several duties at the same time and a list of things to do that would overwhelm most of us — provided they perceive that they are in control. They would be severely stressed by dull, dead end assembly line work enjoyed by others who shun responsibility and simply want to perform a task that is well within their capabilities.”
There’s some food for thought.