YouTube Users Watch More Than 1 Billion Hours of Video a Day, Will Soon Outpace U.S. TV

Viewers around the world are watching more than 1 billion hours of YouTube videos every day, setting the online video service on the path to beat regular TV viewership, according to a report this week by The Wall Street Journal. The 1 billion hour milestone, which YouTube passed sometime late in 2016, is said to have been reached thanks to Google's "aggressive embrace of artificial intelligence to recommend videos."

Google started building and introducing the algorithms in 2012, and YouTube said that its 1 billion daily viewership hours represent a 10-fold increase in hours of video watched since 2012. In total, there are 400 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute, which equates to 65 years of video every day. To get through all of that content, YouTube's algorithms give viewers a nudge of what to watch next on both desktop and mobile, growing the service's numbers year-over-year.

“The corpus of content continues to get richer and richer by the minute, and machine-learning algorithms do a better and better job of surfacing the content that an individual user likes,” YouTube Chief Product Officer Neal Mohan said.
With 1 billion hours of YouTube videos being viewed daily, the company's worldwide viewership will soon eclipse traditional American broadcast television numbers. According to Nielsen data, Americans watch around 1.25 billion hours of live and recorded TV every day. But, thanks to the rise of cord-cutting services, that number has been "steadily dropping in recent years."

Because Google doesn't disclose YouTube's monetary performance, it's unclear how much the company is profiting off of its growing popularity. A report from 2015 suggested that YouTube made around $4 billion in 2014 "and roughly broke even." YouTube has begun initiating ways to profit more from its increasing viewership, including the launch of the premium, $9.99/month YouTube Red service, as well as reports that began last year of the company's plan to debut its own streaming TV subscription service.

YouTube is also tweaking and learning what works best for its users. Earlier this month, the company confirmed that it'll be doing way with unskippable 30-second advertisements in 2018 because it knows that it loses some viewers completely when such ads pop up in front of videos. In their place, it's expected that shorter, but still unskippable 6-second "bumper ads" will become the norm.

For its online TV service, which was referred to as "one of the online video giant’s biggest priorities" when news of it broke last year, YouTube is predicted to introduce a skinny bundle with the four major U.S. networks and a few other popular cable channels, all for less than $35/month. At the time, YouTube's efforts were compared to Apple's attempts to launch a cord-cutting package, but plans for such a skinny bundle service from Apple have fallen apart due to media companies wanting more money than Apple wanted to charge for the service.

YouTube has also pushed out a small update to its iOS app today that will ensure all links to any YouTube video consistently open up within the YouTube app instead of in a browser window, like they sometimes did in the Safari or Chrome apps. YouTube is available to download for free on the iOS App Store. [Direct Link]

Tag: YouTube


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22 months ago
Fake news.
There's only 24 hours in a day, not 1 billion.
Rating: 15 Votes
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22 months ago

I don't get it. What are people watching for hours at a time? I watch maybe a few minutes of YouTube a month -news highlights, a press conference, a sports highlight, something like that. It's nothing I'd just browse for entertainment. Maybe I'm the weird one...


Cat videos.

I'm kidding, there really is content on YouTube. It may be a generational thing but there are streamers creating content and making a living with YouTube as one of the mediums they use to reach their audience.
Rating: 9 Votes
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22 months ago

I don't get it. What are people watching for hours at a time? I watch maybe a few minutes of YouTube a month -news highlights, a press conference, a sports highlight, something like that. It's nothing I'd just browse for entertainment. Maybe I'm the weird one...

You've never went down the rabbit hole of watching related vids and an hour later wondering how you got to where you are? I don't know if you're missing out or fortunate for not experiencing that.
Rating: 7 Votes
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22 months ago

I don't get it. What are people watching for hours at a time? I watch maybe a few minutes of YouTube a month -news highlights, a press conference, a sports highlight, something like that. It's nothing I'd just browse for entertainment. Maybe I'm the weird one...


Documentaries, product reviews, tech talks, music videos, old TV shows and movies, vlogs, and yes, animal videos. :D I always find something interesting to watch on youtube. And the best part? No ads. Ever.
Rating: 6 Votes
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22 months ago

I don't get it. What are people watching for hours at a time? I watch maybe a few minutes of YouTube a month -news highlights, a press conference, a sports highlight, something like that. It's nothing I'd just browse for entertainment. Maybe I'm the weird one...


That's where I consume most of my media. I get commentary on current events (from both normal news outlets and Internet-only outlets), I watch ads for upcoming media properties (movies, tv shows, games, etc), highlight replays of Twitch streamers (no time for the real Twitch), documentaries on all sorts of topics, etc, etc.

There is a lot you can watch on YouTube other than "fail/prank" videos. I'm a YouTube Red subscriber, so I might be different than most. YouTube Red + iTunes + Netflix - a really good trifecta for visual media.
Rating: 6 Votes
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22 months ago
Am I the only one here surprised that YouTube viewing hasn't already surpassed TV viewing?

Also I'm saddened by all anti-YT sentiment across a bunch of these comments. Thanks to YouTube, I've learned how to repair my car by myself, train my dog with positive reinforcement training, watch sports highlights on demand, look up my favorite clips from old tv shows and movies that I loved, cook cool recipes from independent home chefs.... the list goes on.

Seriously, half of y'all are practically yelling at me to get off your lawn.
Rating: 4 Votes
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22 months ago

Which is why cable tv prices keep going up and up and up, people are cancelling cable tv and watching online so cable tv companies have to keep jacking up prices to cover for basic and digital cable tv channels. My cable tv went up again $9.00 a month.


I think the cable companies made a huge mistake in the 90s resisting pressure for a la carte tier constructions. They went immediately to the "it's not sustainable, you'll never get to see the new channels you might like" instead of making an effort to experiment immediately with customer-oriented ways of making desired bundles.

Since when in the world of free markets is trying something and letting it sink or swim not an option?! So much for free markets. Shareholder orientation has been killing "free" markets for decades now if you ask me. Let the shareholder assume some risk for a change. That's what a free market is about. But no. Must have quarterly returns showing more profit, better margin, more customers, less churn. Note to world: it's unsustainable.

Now look at what has happened. "new" --or retro-- channels are all over the net, and the cable companies are hemorrhaging customers who don't care to pay for entire tiers of stuff, don't have time to watch much TV anyway, and certainly don't care to pay for their neighbor to be able to watch sports or some other niche interest in a cableco-defined bundle for less then if it were a la carte. Let Joe Six pay for his own sports programs and let me watch HGTV for whatever it costs if I feel like paying for it, how about that... but the cablecos said no back in the 90s, and keep saying it into the 00s, and so I said sayonara and never looked back after I had them uncable my house.

But, being the corporatists the cable companies are... now we see the vertical integration efforts. "If we can't get you to pay for bundled content then we'll just merge with your provider and jack your net access fee." And forget about net neutrality in the age of deregulation coming in now under Trump and the GOP. Pretty soon whatever's not got the corporate stamp of approval will arrive on our laptops and phones at the speed of molasses in January.

The next new thing will be local stage companies, and to the cablecos a raspberry and keep yer canned entertainment... Oh I forgot, we're already seeing a jump in local stage companies. It's a well kept secret from cablecos though. They will never learn until the last customer bails to hang a sheet on the wall and make rabbit ear shadows in the light of a solar powered lantern to amuse his kids.
Rating: 4 Votes
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22 months ago

I don't get it. What are people watching for hours at a time? I watch maybe a few minutes of YouTube a month -news highlights, a press conference, a sports highlight, something like that. It's nothing I'd just browse for entertainment. Maybe I'm the weird one...

My grandson, pre-teen, loves YouTube and so does his friends. Never wants to watch TV for any reason. I wonder if music included in the statistics. A whole generation is growing up with YouTube rather then Saturday Cartoons. A huge problem for TV networks in the long run.
Rating: 4 Votes
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22 months ago

I don't watch regular tv anymore but I like You Tube for product reviews and how-to instructional videos. My husband and I have saved probably thousands of dollars in money on repairs and contractors over the past three years we've been fixing up our house and learning our way around its unfamiliar plumbing and hvac system.


This, in spades. Instructional videos have saved me many times.

Just the other day I needed to change the fuel filter under my RV. I'd never changed a fuel injection pressurized fuel filter before, so off I went to YouTube first, and watched the half dozen videos uploaded by people sharing their methods on that exact same unit.

From them I learned that I needed a special line clip release tool (thank you Amazon next day delivery for the tool and filter), advice to hold a rag around the clip in case fuel sprayed out, how to deal with stubborn clips, how to put it back in its holder correctly, etc.

By the time I crawled underneath to do it myself, I had all their experiences good and bad to draw from, which made it much easier and quicker to do. Even a little decoupling glitch was no problem since I'd seen similar on some of the videos.

Mind you, I grew up working on cars, so I'm very familiar with everything from replacing a clutch to rebuilding an engine. Still, it never hurts to see a new procedure ahead of time.
Rating: 3 Votes
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22 months ago

You've never went down the rabbit hole of watching related vids and an hour later wondering how you got to where you are? I don't know if you're missing out or fortunate for not experiencing that.

You mean like the time I started out watching the latest SpaceX launch, only to be taken to the Apollo 1 disaster, then the Hindenburg, and somehow ended up watching the construction of the French Embassy in Uganda?



Mike
Rating: 3 Votes
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