As 2010 draws to a close, it’s time to reflect on another incredible year in online video. During the last 12 months you all watched more than 700 billion YouTube videos, and uploaded more than 13 million hours of content to the site. We met a bunch of new faces (and fruits) and celebrated as new YouTube partners hit the big time with millions of views. Indeed, our partner program grew to around 15,000 participants worldwide.

We’re privileged to work with the most passionate and talented partners in the world, who produce and upload videos that inspire us, make us laugh and move us -- and, most importantly, change the way we look at the world. In bedrooms, garages and studios across the globe, these talented and entrepreneurial YouTube partners are building the next generation of media companies, and in July this year we announced a new way we’d be supporting this via Partner Grants.

It’s clear that we want to see YouTube partners continue to create great video and further push the boundaries of what’s possible online. To that end, today we’re giving a $1,000 credit at B&H Photo to 500 partners around the world, who primarily create and distribute their content online, to purchase new video production equipment. This group includes well-known YouTube stars like ShayCarl, MysteryGuitarMan and FreddieW (and this past weekend we learned the latter two make quite a guitar-bass duo), and also successful musicians like Kina Grannis and promising new talents like EmilyNoel83, who was the inaugural winner of our “On The Rise” program last month. Collectively, these 500 partners generated billions of video views in 2010, and we chose them to receive a $1,000 credit based on their popularity during 2010, as well as their online focus.

We hope this will provide our most popular partners with the tools they need -- whether it be a new camera, sound & lighting equipment or editing software -- to produce even higher quality videos and ultimately drive bigger audiences to their work. Hundreds of creative people all around the world have launched professional careers after using YouTube as a global platform to demonstrate their talent - we want to see this number continue to grow.

On behalf of the entire YouTube community, we thank these partners for sharing their creativity and talent with us, and we look forward to what’s to come in 2011 and beyond.

Tom Pickett, Director of Content Operations & Online Creators, recently watched “P4A: The Annoying Orange Interviewed by Tay Zonday.”