If you are a fan of online videos, surely YouTube is one of the platforms where you enjoy them, right? But do you know what the history of YouTube is? In this post, we tell you from the beginning.
Nowadays, it’s almost impossible to think of online videos and not remember YouTube. But 15 years ago, the internet’s largest video platform didn’t exist. From its launch in 2005 to the present, it has caused a real revolution in the way we consume content on the network.
Occupying the rank of the second largest search engine on the Internet – just lagging behind Google – YouTube has more than 2 billion active users per month, who spend, on average, an hour and 15 minutes watching videos on the platform every day.
Around the world, 500 hours of new content are published per minute, that’s a lot of videos! And the global reach is huge, as it’s possible to browse YouTube in more than 80 languages.
In addition to being an entertainment channel, YouTube has become one of the best marketing and advertising platforms. Thousands of companies spend much of their budget posting videos on this site.
But despite all these impressive numbers, it’s hard to imagine that YouTube’s story hasn’t always been like this. Just over a decade ago, the platform was nothing more than a small start-up and unknown to the public.
Want to know more? Then take advantage of the content we have prepared for you!
2005: The beginning of the History of YouTube
Let’s think about the history of YouTube in the timeline. In 2004, in Latin America, Internet access was still via dial-up, there was no Facebook, and everyone communicated via MSN. Silicon Valley, in California, was already in full swing and several business ideas were constantly appearing. Among them, there was YouTube.
Good occurrences come when you least expect them. Let Chad Hurley say it! This former employee of PayPal recorded a video during a dinner at a friend’s house and found it very difficult to share it. At that time he had an insight: how about creating a service to upload videos and share them easily?
It didn’t take long for Hurley to join two other former PayPal teammates, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim, to develop his initiative. Thus, on February 14, 2005, in California, the trio inaugurated the domain youtube.com.
1. The first video in YouTube history
The ability to post videos was added to the platform on April 23, 2005. It was on this date that the first content was broadcast.
The first video in YouTube history is just 19 seconds long and shows one of its founders, Chad Hurley, on a visit to the San Diego Zoo in California. Check it out below:
video | Me at the zoo
Although the content seems irrelevant, this video is a real milestone and has inaugurated a new way of relating to the web. Since then, we have never stopped sharing our lives on the Internet.
2. The first viral video
When YouTube came along, its creators had no idea that their startup would become one of the most important sites in the world. For them, the platform would have a more private character, where users could post videos and send them only to their acquaintances.
That’s why, in the first two months of its existence, the site had only 19 videos hosted and very few visits.
But on June 25, 2005, the 20th video was uploaded to the platform and that’s when YouTube took a big leap. The video, featuring two boys dubbing a song by the Backstreet Boys, became the first viral video in YouTube history.
The video was a resounding success and has already accumulated more than 6 million views. It may seem like very little, especially when compared to today’s most popular videos, with billions of views and comments. But, you must remember that YouTube was still an unknown site to many and social networks were still in their infancy.
3. The first big brand you posted on YouTube
During this same period, the platform began to gain more attention, even from some brands. At a time when video monetization was not yet a reality, Nike was the first company in the history of YouTube to bet on the tool as a form of dissemination.
You may remember the video in which Brazilian soccer player Ronaldinho Gaúcho wears Nike sneakers, and hits several kicks on the crossbar. His feat made many people think that the video was a montage. In case you don’t remember it or don’t know it, check it out:
In addition to being real, the ace’s tricks became the first video from the platform to accumulate 1 million views. Quite an achievement!
2006: The beginning of the success of YouTube
In 2006, YouTube was already a true phenomenon and one of the sites with the highest growth projection on the Internet. In the first half of that year alone, the platform went from 4.9 million to 19.6 million users; an increase of almost 300%!
To give you a better idea of the speed of this growth, in July 2006, YouTube increased its share of Internet traffic by 75% worldwide. There were 65 thousand videos published and they generated millions of views.
At the time, the average profile of the Internet user accessing YouTube was mainly made up of teenage boys. But, even with such a restricted audience, the site was already responsible for 65% of the audiovisual content market on the Internet and began to show its full potential as a marketing and business platform.
YouTube in the Google Era
Despite all the success and development of the platform, YouTube faced a serious problem: the site did not have any kind of income. And to make matters worse, he suffered several lawsuits for copyright infringement.
Without a physical and monetary structure to deal with obstacles of this magnitude, it seemed that YouTube’s story would have a tragic end and bankruptcy would be inevitable.
Fortunately, the rapid rise of the brand and its financial difficulties caught the attention of one of its main competitors: Google. Back then, the company was concentrating its efforts on developing Google videos, but the project was shelved.
Finally, in October 2006 Google acquired YouTube for $1.65 billion.
The transaction turned out to be an excellent deal because, currently, YouTube is worth more than USD 100 billion dollars. About 20% of Alphabet, the world’s largest parent company controls Google and all its services.
The million-dollar purchase was a milestone in the history of YouTube, Google, online videos, and the Internet, in general.
After being acquired by the search giant, YouTube has become an indispensable tool for those who consume videos online. And the numbers don’t lie. According to Google data, 99% of Internet users who watch videos on the Internet, access YouTube.
From this moment, the platform begins to develop solutions to make money and make content creators also bill.
One of them is Content ID, a tool that analyzes the contents published on the platform in search of extracts of audiovisual works protected by copyright.
YouTube has also launched the Partner Program, which allows YouTubers to use their own content to generate revenue. Thus, it is possible to make money with the ads published in the videos.
Then, the site became one of the best content marketing tools with videos. Several companies invest part of the budget to advertise on the platform and increase the reach and visibility of the brand.
The possibility of making money with online videos attracted more and more content creators and, consequently, users interested in consuming online videos. YouTube kept growing!
1. Change of command and new features
And to keep users happy, the platform invested in new features and improved existing ones.
The year 2008 marked the emergence of 480p videos and the mobile version of the site, while high-definition (720p) content would not be available until the following year. In 2009 the site also launched automatic captioning through advanced voice detection technology.
That same year, YouTube surpassed one billion videos viewed per day.
In 2010, the platform inaugurated the option to “like” videos and rent full movies. That’s when the first change of command happened.
Iran’s Salar Kamangar becomes CEO of the company after being one of the first Google employees to lead the web applications division. That same year, YouTube became the third most accessed site in the world, behind only Google and Facebook.
But the following year, 2011, was crucial to YouTube’s history. The platform launched a live streaming tool – YouTube Live. At that time, the Middle East was shaken by the Arab Spring.
Millions of protesters from countries in the region began using the functionality to display protests in the region, shocking the entire world.
2. World dominance and gameplay escalation
The platform has not stopped growing and surprising us all. In 2012, the site inaugurated a new interface, with a more responsive and mobile-centric design.
It was in that same year that the clip of “Gangnam Style”, by South Korean Psy, was published on the platform, becoming a pop phenomenon so big that it “broke” the YouTube view counter, surpassing 1 billion views.
After that, the site had to change the way it counted the views of the contents.
At the same time, the platform changes the ranking and ranking algorithm of videos in the suggestions for the user on the main page of the site. From that moment on, it begins to privilege the time that users spend watching the videos and not the number of views.
That is, the longer the video, the more time the user will spend in front of the screen and the better their position in the ranking.
And suddenly, videos with top 10 lists and compilations became bombshells on YouTube, as did the gameplays.
Then came the fever of videos about Minecraft, a standalone Lego-style game where players create virtual worlds using blocks.
Millions of young people around the world began recording their adventures in video games, showing their virtual creations and reactions. There are millions of videos on the subject, accumulating more than 40 billion views.
In this same context of video games emerged the most popular Youtuber in history: PewDiePie. The young Swede revolutionized the universe of gameplay, with funny videos of the horror game Amnesia – The Dark Descent. His unparalleled charisma made him reach more than 60 million subscribers a few years later.
3. More new features
In 2014, the videos were released at 60 frames per second, the following year, the content in 360º. The company is still trying to create new forms of monetization, such as YouTube RED (now YouTube Premium), a paid version of the site, ad-free and with offline videos.
2014 also saw the last change of CEO at the company. Who assumed the position was Susan Wojcicki, one of the most important women in the world of advertising and essential to the history of Google.
She gave up the garage of her house to become the first office of the company. The executive has worked as Google’s advertising and commerce manager and has developed products such as AdSense, one of the company’s largest sources of income.
YouTube allows you to upload videos in a variety of formats, including .MP4, WMV, AVI, MPEG4, and MOV.
YouTube’s success goes on for a long time
The YouTube we have today is very different from 2005 when the first video was posted on the platform. In addition to the dozens of changes in the interface and the new features implemented, the site has adapted to the development of the Internet.
As the web gained space in the world, reaching all continents, the online video site was transformed to increase its global reach. Today, YouTube has local versions in 88 countries, reaches 96% of all Internet users, and continues to grow.
The popularization of YouTube has also influenced a new generation of young people looking to succeed on the Internet and gain fame. The dream of being a Youtuber and making money with online videos can be compared to the dream of being a football player in the past.
Do you dare to create your own channel?
YouTube’s history is intertwined with the trajectory of the Internet. And the future of video is even more promising. A Cisco study showed that online video consumption would account for 82% of all data traffic on the internet in 2021.
At a time when the internet was still in its infancy, YouTube was a pioneering idea that practically introduced video consumption on the web as we know it today.
The platform created opportunities for millions of people to become creators, democratizing information and culture. Plus, of course, revolutionizing content marketing forever.
That’s the story of YouTube!