Five years ago, after months of late nights, testing and preparation, YouTube’s founders launched the first beta version of YouTube.com in May, with a simple mission: give anyone a place to easily upload their videos and share them with the world. Whether you were an aspiring filmmaker, a politician, a proud parent, or someone who just wanted to connect with something bigger, YouTube became the place where you could broadcast yourself.
Over time, these aspirations have created a vibrant and inspiring community that helped transform a murmur of interest into something far greater than any of us ever could have imagined. Today, thanks to you, our site has crossed another milestone: YouTube exceeds over two billion views a day. That’s nearly double the prime-time audience of all three major U.S. television networks combined.
What started as a site for bedroom vloggers and viral videos has evolved into a global platform that supports HD and 3D, broadcasts entire sports seasons live to 200+ countries. We bring feature films from Hollywood studios and independent filmmakers to far-flung audiences. Activists document social unrest seeking to transform societies, and leading civic and political figures stream interviews to the world.
To celebrate our birthday, today we’re launching the YouTube Five Year channel. There, you’ll find the “My YouTube Story” project which features people from all over describing how YouTube has changed or shaped their lives.
Please add your own story to the mix! You can upload your video here -- and it may be selected to appear on the channel’s video wall or map.
The channel also hosts an interactive timeline containing some of the most important moments and memes in our short history. It was tough to pick -- and just scratches the surface of all the amazing things that have happened on YouTube over the years. What else? We’ve asked a handful of luminaries like Conan O’Brien, Vint Cerf and Katie Couric to curate playlists showcasing their favorite videos on the subjects they know best. You can also check out our Infographic here; it contains lots of neat facts and figures.
Since we never could have predicted all that happened in YouTube’s first five years, we certainly can’t imagine what the future will look like. But we do know there’s a lot more to be done. For instance, we want to make it even easier for you to sort through and find the videos that matter to you. Although the average user spends 15 minutes a day on YouTube, that’s tiny compared to the five hours a day people spend watching TV. Clearly, we need to give you more reason to watch more videos! And we want to give you all the tools and support to make YouTube both your career and your community. After all, this is only the beginning of the video revolution. We’re just getting started.
The YouTube Team