YouTube

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YouTube is one of the most popular video-sharing sites


URL = http://www.youtube.com/


Description

"Watch : Instantly find and watch 1000's of fast streaming videos. Upload : Quickly upload and tag videos in almost any video format. Share : Easily share your videos with family, friends, or co-workers.

You can embed YouTube videos in any website by a little code snippet."


History

John Seabrook:

"YouTube was created by three former employees of PayPal, in a Silicon Valley garage, in early 2005. According to two of the founders, Chad Hurley and Steven Chen, a graphic designer and a software engineer, respectively, the idea grew out of a dinner party at Chen’s home in San Francisco, in the winter of 2004-05. Guests had made videos of one another, but they couldn’t share them easily. The founders envisioned a video version of Flickr, a popular photo-sharing site. All the content on the site would be user-generated: “Real personal clips that are taken by everyday people,” as Hurley described his vision.

The third founder, Jawed Karim, also a software engineer, had an additional source of inspiration: Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” on CBS’s broadcast of the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show. The incident spawned an enormous amount of commentary, an F.C.C. fine, and a lawsuit that went all the way to the Supreme Court, but if you missed the live broadcast you were out of luck.

On the evening of April 23, 2005, Karim uploaded the first video to YouTube—an eighteen-second clip of him, standing in front of the elephant enclosure at the San Diego Zoo, wearing an ill-fitting hiking jacket. He says, “The cool thing about these guys is that they have really, really, really long trunks, and that’s cool,” smirks a little, and ends with “And that’s pretty much all there is to say.” Civilization would never be the same.

By the time a beta version of YouTube went live, in May, 2005, its archive held several dozen videos, supplied mostly by the founders and their friends; Chen contributed a couple of his cat, Stinky. Not surprisingly, traffic was light. YouTube was like “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” without the fun. The founders had no outside financing at the time, and they were paying for equipment and bandwidth with the payouts they had earned from PayPal when eBay bought the company, in 2002; some of the costs went on Chen’s credit card. The situation looked bleak. In a video shot that month in a garage, the founders discuss their predicament. Chen says, “I was getting pretty depressed toward the end of last week.” Someone says, “This is lame.” The founders decided that videos of good-looking babes might help, and they placed ads on Craigslist, offering attractive women a hundred dollars for ten videos. No one responded.

On June 20th, Karim wrote in an e-mail to Chen and Hurley, “If we want to sign up lots of users who keep coming back, we have to target the people who will never upload a video in their life. And those are really valuable because they spend time watching.” What the watchers wanted was music videos, skits from “Saturday Night Live,” and episodes of “South Park”—professional content. “And if they watch, then it’s just like TV, which means lots of value,” Karim added.

In e-mails that later became the centerpiece of a billion-dollar copyright-infringement suit brought by Viacom against YouTube, in 2007, both Karim and Chen advocated a laissez-faire response toward copyrighted content. If the content owners asked YouTube to take a video down, the site would comply; otherwise, the founders would leave it. Hurley presciently wrote, “OK man, save your meal money for some lawsuits.” But he, too, went along with the relaxed approach.

In June, the site incorporated a number of new features, including the ability to embed YouTube videos in other sites and links between videos, and traffic began to pick up. By December, YouTube had several million views a day. That month, “Lazy Sunday,” a skit from “Saturday Night Live,” in which Andy Samberg and Chris Parnell rap about eating cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery and going to a Sunday matinée of “The Chronicles of Narnia,” was posted on YouTube, and viewed more than five million times before it was removed at NBCUniversal’s request.

...

On June 20th, Karim wrote in an e-mail to Chen and Hurley, “If we want to sign up lots of users who keep coming back, we have to target the people who will never upload a video in their life. And those are really valuable because they spend time watching.” What the watchers wanted was music videos, skits from “Saturday Night Live,” and episodes of “South Park”—professional content. “And if they watch, then it’s just like TV, which means lots of value,” Karim added.

In e-mails that later became the centerpiece of a billion-dollar copyright-infringement suit brought by Viacom against YouTube, in 2007, both Karim and Chen advocated a laissez-faire response toward copyrighted content. If the content owners asked YouTube to take a video down, the site would comply; otherwise, the founders would leave it. Hurley presciently wrote, “OK man, save your meal money for some lawsuits.” But he, too, went along with the relaxed approach.

In June, the site incorporated a number of new features, including the ability to embed YouTube videos in other sites and links between videos, and traffic began to pick up. By December, YouTube had several million views a day. That month, “Lazy Sunday,” a skit from “Saturday Night Live,” in which Andy Samberg and Chris Parnell rap about eating cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery and going to a Sunday matinée of “The Chronicles of Narnia,” was posted on YouTube, and viewed more than five million times before it was removed at NBCUniversal’s request." (http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012/01/16/120116fa_fact_seabrook)

Business Model

Partner Program

"YouTube’s Partner Program, begun in 2007, has also flourished. YouTube sells advertising against popular channels created by homegrown YouTube stars—vloggers, sit-down comedians (a form of comedy unique to YouTube), mashup artists, bedroom auteurs, Mr. Fix-Its—and shares the revenues with the channels’ creators. For most of YouTube’s thirty thousand partners, this means a few hundred dollars a month, but the top five hundred partners earn more than a hundred thousand a year, and in some cases—Real Annoying Orange, a socially inept talking citrus who converses with other pieces of fruit; Shane Dawson, a madcap twenty-three-year-old sketch comedian; and Michelle Phan, a Vietnamese-American beauty guru, among them—they earn much more. Tweens are more familiar with these “welebrities” than they are with the stars on TV, a grim augury for the future of traditional television." (http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012/01/16/120116fa_fact_seabrook)


YouTube Channels

"While Kamangar and Kyncl were expanding YouTube’s movie titles, they were also exploring a more radical idea. What if YouTube could get professional writers, directors, and producers to create original content for the site? As Kyncl put it, “YouTube already had many channels, but they were used more as a way for content creators to set up their relationship with YouTube and upload videos, rather than as a discovery mechanism for the viewer.” YouTube would not want to own or develop the content. “We’re a technology company, and that’s not in our DNA,” Kyncl said. “The focus would be on developing channels, and brands, rather than individual shows.” He added, “There is a fundamental difference between the way AOL and Yahoo behave and the way we behave. They commission individual pieces of content. What we do is commission channels. We don’t tell people how to program the channels. We have certain volume requirements”—for instance, channels would be required to supply a minimum number of hours of programming each week—“but we are not making show-by-show decisions.”

Early in 2011, Kyncl began meeting content creators in a variety of media—film, TV, music, print—whiteboarding the future of television, and inviting them to participate in it by creating new YouTube channels. He offered several million dollars in funding, in the form of advances against future ad revenues, to be used as development money. Once the advances are earned back, YouTube will share ad revenues with the creators. YouTube will have an exclusive right to the content for a year, but the creators will retain ownership. YouTube will be responsible for selling ads but will not invest in promoting or marketing the channels in the way that traditional television channels do. (There will be no lavish premiere parties, and no billboards in Times Square.)

Michael Hirschorn was among the people who heard Kyncl’s presentation. Hirschorn began his career in print but made his name in television, at VH1, where, as the head of programming, he oversaw hits like “Flavor of Love” and “Celebrity Rehab.” He now runs an independent production company called Ish Entertainment. Larry Aidem, the former president of the Sundance Channel, knew Robert Kyncl, Hirschorn told me, and he said he thought they should meet. “None of the stuff Robert described was happening yet, of course, but I felt, having been late to several revolutions previously, that we needed to go all out for this,” Hirschorn said. “I called Larry and said, ‘We need to start a company now.’ ”

In all, Kyncl received more than a thousand proposals for new YouTube channels. He and his staff heard more than five hundred pitches, and winnowed them down to just over a hundred channels that would be awarded advances. Hirschorn attended more than twenty meetings. The winning proposals—branded “YouTube Original Channels”—were announced late on the Friday evening just before Halloween, at a time usually reserved for scandals and resignations, signalling that the third age of television, whatever it might be, would not be show business as usual.

Hirschorn and Aidem’s company, IconicTV, has been given advances for three channels: Life and Times, which will focus on Jay-Z’s cultural and artistic interests; 123UnoDosTres, an urban channel for Latin American young adults; and myISH, a channel for scouting musical talent. Madonna and her longtime manager, Guy Oseary, are developing a dance channel called Dance On. Amy Poehler is creating a channel called Smart Girls at the Party. Shaquille O’Neal is behind the Comedy Shaq Network, and there is a skateboard channel, RIDE, from Tony Hawk. Brian Bedol, who started the Classic Sports Network in the nineteen-nineties, and his partner Ken Lerer, the co-founder of the Huffington Post, got funds for four channels: Network A, an action-sports channel; KickTV, featuring soccer; Official Comedy, a standup-comedy showcase; and Look TV, a fashion-and-beauty channel. The Onion, Slate, and the Wall Street Journal are also creating channels, as are Hearst and Meredith. Even Disney, which had not made its films available to YouTube until November, agreed to partner with the company." (http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012/01/16/120116fa_fact_seabrook)

Stastistics

2012

1.

"Today, it has eight hundred million unique users a month, and generates more than three billion views a day. Forty-eight hours of new video are uploaded to the site every minute. According to Nielsen, it drew eight times more video viewers last year than Hulu, which is jointly owned by NBCUniversal, News Corporation, and the Walt Disney Company, among others. It is the first truly global media platform on earth." (http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012/01/16/120116fa_fact_seabrook)


2. Journalism.org:

"Seven years after it was developed by three former employees of PayPal, the reach of YouTube is enormous. The video sharing site is now the third most visited destination online, behind only Google (which owns YouTube) and Facebook, based on data compiled by Netcraft, a British research service. According to the company's own statistics, more than 72 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. The site gets over 4 billion video views a day. Slightly under a third of those, 30%, come from the United States.

YouTube has also become a part of the lives of most Americans. Fully 71% of adults have used sites like YouTube or Vimeo at some time, according to a 2011 survey by the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project. That is up from 66% in 2010. And 28% visit them daily.

Bought by Google in 2006 for $1.65 billion in stock, YouTube has moved from being a repository of videos to becoming a force that is investing in content creation (if not doing the creation themselves). In 2007, the company created a Partner Program, which shares revenues with content creators in order to encourage the production of more creative content. That program now has more than 1 million partners in 27 countries, including news organizations such as CBS, the BBC and National Geographic. In addition, the company has given direct grants to a smaller group of news content producers as a further way of promoting new ideas and production models." (http://www.journalism.org/analysis_report/youtube_news/)

2006

September 2006 stats:

  • In a single month the number of videos on the site grew 20% to 6.1 million
  • YouTube has some 45 terabytes of videos
  • Video views reached 1.73 billion
  • 70% of YouTube's registered users are American, roughly 50% are under 20
  • The total time people spent watching YouTube since it started last year is 9,305 years

( from the WSJ at [1])

Discussion

The Culture Role of YouTube

Some comments about the role of YouTube, the massively used videosharing site that was purchased by Google, plays in our culture, by Henry Jenkins:

"1. YouTube functions as a meeting place for different subcultures, fan communities, and other forms of participatory culture, enabling the crosspollination of formal practices, themes, and ideas. I see this crosspollination as likely to accelerate the speed with which cultural innovations get picked up and deployed at other social sites.

2. YouTube participants are monitoring mass media and rescuing content that deserves greater attention than it has received -- see here the circulation of Jon Stewart's Crossfire appearance, Stephen Colbert's Washington Press Club talk, or some of Keith Oberman's commentary on the Bush administration and the war, all of which were seen by many more people on YouTube than on television.

3. Grassroots content circulating on YouTube is being pushed upward through a combination of old and new media into greater and greater public visibility -- the movement from blogs to A List blogs (Boing Boing) to major web publications (Salon, Slate) to niche television (Daily Show, Letterman) to mainstream television (The Early Show) to advertising. This is such a powerful illustration of how convergence culture works.

4. YouTube is forcing major media companies to opt in or out of participatory culture -- with companies like MTV Networks enabling certain content to circulate through this channel or several major Japanese media companies deciding to yank their anime-related content off last week." (http://www.henryjenkins.org/2006/11/googtube_tv_20_or_bubble_20.html)


Mark Pesce on the impact of You Tube's hyperdistribution on the mass media

Mark Pesce:

"It's not that YouTube is competing with you for dollars - it isn't, at least not yet - but rather, it is competing for attention. Attention is the limiting factor for the audience; we are cashed up but time-poor. Yet, even as we've become so time-poor, the number of options for how we can spend that time entertaining ourselves has grown so grotesquely large as to be almost unfathomable. This is the real lesson of YouTube, the one I want you to consider in your deliberations today. In just the past three years we have gone from an essential scarcity of filmic media - presented through limited and highly regulated distribution channels - to a hyperabundance of viewing options.

This hyperabundance of choices, it was supposed until recently, would lead to a sort of "decision paralysis," whereby the viewer would be so overwhelmed by the number of choices on offer that they would simply run back, terrified, to the highly regularized offerings of the old-school distribution channels. This has not happened; in fact, the opposite has occured: the audience is fragmenting, breaking up into ever-smaller "microaudiences". It is these microaudiences that YouTube speaks directly to. The language of microaudiences is YouTube's native tongue.

In order to illustrate the transformation that has completely overtaken us, let's consider a hypothetical fifteen year-old boy, home after a day at school. He is multi-tasking: texting his friends, posting messages on Bebo, chatting away on IM, surfing the web, doing a bit of homework, and probably taking in some entertainment. That might be coming from a television, somewhere in the background, or it might be coming from the Web browser right in front of him. (Actually, it's probably both simultaneously.) This teenager has a limited suite of selections available on the telly - even with satellite or cable, there won't be more than a few hundred choices on offer, and he's probably settled for something that, while not incredibly satisfying, is good enough to play in the background.

Meanwhile, on his laptop, he's viewing a whole series of YouTube videos that he's received from his friends; they've found these videos in their own wanderings, and immediately forwarded them along, knowing that he'll enjoy them. He views them, and laughs, he forwards them along to other friends, who will laugh, and forward them along to other friends, and so on. Sharing is an essential quality of all of the media this fifteen year-old has ever known. In his eyes, if it can't be shared, a piece of media loses most of its value. If it can't be forwarded along, it's broken.

For this fifteen year-old, the concept of a broadcast network no longer exists. Television programmes might be watched as they're broadcast over the airwaves, but more likely they're spooled off of a digital video recorder, or downloaded from the torrent and watched where and when he chooses. The broadcast network has been replaced by the social network of his friends, all of whom are constantly sharing the newest, coolest things with one another. The current hot item might be something that was created at great expense for a mass audience, but the relationship between a hot piece of media and its meaningfulness for a microaudience is purely coincidental. All the marketing dollars in the world can foster some brand awareness, but no amount of money will inspire that fifteen year old to forward something along - because his social standing hangs in the balance. If he passes along something lame, he'll lose social standing with his peers. This factors into every decision he makes, from the brand of runners he wears, to the television series he chooses to watch. Because of the hyperabundance of media - something he takes as a given, not as an incredibly recent development - all of his media decisions are weighed against the values and tastes of his social network, rather than against a scarcity of choices." (http://blog.futurestreetconsulting.com/?p=42)


Citizen-driven news videos

Journalism.org:

"What is the nature of news on YouTube? What types of events "go viral" and attract the most viewers? How does this agenda differ from that of the traditional news media? Do the most popular videos on YouTube tend to be videos produced by professional news organizations, by citizens or by political interest groups or governments? How long does people's attention seem to last?

The Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism examined 15 months' worth of the most popular news videos on the site (January 2011 to March 2012)[2]-some 260 different videos in all-by identifying and tracking the five most-viewed videos each week located in the "news & politics" channel of YouTube, analyzing the nature of the video, the topics that were viewed most often, who produced them and who posted them.[3]

The data reveal that a complex, symbiotic relationship has developed between citizens and news organizations on YouTube, a relationship that comes close to the continuous journalistic "dialogue" many observers predicted would become the new journalism online. Citizens are creating their own videos about news and posting them. They are also actively sharing news videos produced by journalism professionals. And news organizations are taking advantage of citizen content and incorporating it into their journalism. Consumers, in turn, seem to be embracing the interplay in what they watch and share, creating a new kind of television news.

At the same time, clear ethical standards have not developed on how to attribute the video content moving through the synergistic sharing loop. Even though YouTube offers guidelines on how to attribute content, it's clear that not everyone follows them, and certain scenarios fall outside those covered by the guidelines. News organizations sometimes post content that was apparently captured by citizen eyewitnesses without any clear attribution as to the original producer. Citizens are posting copyrighted material without permission. And the creator of some material cannot be identified. All this creates the potential for news to be manufactured, or even falsified, without giving audiences much ability to know who produced it or how to verify it.


Among the key findings of this study:

The most popular news videos tended to depict natural disasters or political upheaval-usually featuring intense visuals. With a majority of YouTube traffic (70%) outside the U.S., the three most popular storylines worldwide over the 15-month period were non-U.S. events. The Japanese earthquake and tsunami was No. 1 (and accounted for 5% of all the 260 videos), followed by elections in Russia (5%) and unrest in the Middle East (4%).

News events are inherently more ephemeral than other kinds of information, but at any given moment news can outpace even the biggest entertainment videos. In 2011, news events were the most searched term on YouTube four months out of 12, according to YouTube's internal data: the Japanese Earthquake, the killing of Osama bin Laden, a fatal motorcycle accident, and news of a homeless man who spoke with what those producing the video called a "god-given gift of voice." Yet over time certain entertainment videos can have a cumulative appeal that will give them higher viewership.

Citizens play a substantial role in supplying and producing footage. More than a third of the most watched videos (39%) were clearly identified as coming from citizens. Another 51% bore the logo of a news organization, though some of that footage, too, appeared to have been originally shot by users rather than journalists. (5% came from corporate and political groups, and the origin of another 5% was not identified.)

Citizens are also responsible for posting a good deal of the videos originally produced by news outlets. Fully 39% of the news pieces originally produced by a news organization were posted by users. (The rest of the most popular news videos of the last 15 months, 61%, were posted by the same news organizations that produced the reports.) As with other social media, this has multiple implications for news outlets. Audiences on YouTube are reshaping the news agenda, but they are also offering more exposure to the content of traditional news outlets.

The most popular news videos are a mix of edited and raw footage. Some pundits of the digital revolution predicted that the public, free to choose, would prefer to see video that was unmediated by the press. The most viewed news videos on YouTube, however, come in various forms. More than half of the most-viewed videos, 58%, involved footage that had been edited, but a sizable percentage, 42%, was raw footage. This mix of raw and edited video, moreover, held true across content coming from news organizations and that produced by citizens. Of videos produced by news organizations, 65% were edited, but so were 39% of what came from citizens.

Personalities are not a main driver of the top news videos. No one individual was featured in even 5% of the most popular videos studied here-and fully 65% did not feature any individual at all. Within the small segment of popular videos that are focused on people, President Barack Obama was the most popular figure (featured in 4% of the top videos worldwide). These ranged from speeches posted in their entirety to satirical ads produced by his political opponents.

Unlike in traditional TV news, the lengths of the most popular news videos on YouTube vary greatly. The median length of the most popular news videos was 2 minutes and 1 second, which is longer than the median length of a story package on local TV news (41 seconds) but shorter than the median length on national network evening newscasts (2 minutes and 23 seconds). But the variation in the length of the YouTube videos stands out even more. While traditional news tends to follow strict formulas for length, the most popular news videos on YouTube were fairly evenly distributed-from under a minute (29%), one to two minutes (21%), two to five minutes (33%) and longer than five (18%).[4]

The news viewership on YouTube is probably still outpaced by the audience for news on conventional television worldwide. While those top 20 tsunami videos were viewed 96 million times worldwide the week of the disaster, for instance, more people almost certainly watched on local and national television around the globe. Twenty-two million people on average watch the evening news on the three broadcast channels each night in the United States alone, and larger numbers watch local TV newscasts.

But YouTube is a place where consumers can determine the news agenda for themselves and watch the videos at their own convenience-a form of "on demand" video news. In the case of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, audience interest continued for weeks. The disaster remained among the top-viewed news subjects for three straight weeks. Based on the most viewed videos each week listed by YouTube, it was also the biggest news story on the site for 2011. " (http://www.journalism.org/analysis_report/youtube_news/)

More Information

(27.07.06) What goes on the Net stays on the Net (About YouTube: "They could refuse to take down your video... ...charge YOU for your own video. ...insert ads in the video..." - www.pbs.org)

Analysis for Flow magazine by John MacMurria at http://jot.communication.utexas.edu/flow/?jot=view&id=1995

Henry Jenkins on YouTube at http://www.henryjenkins.org/2006/11/googtube_tv_20_or_bubble_20.html