A Look at YouTube
About the Company
In just a few short years, YouTube has grown from a place for short, amusing online videos to a name synonymous with online TV. Started in 2005, YouTube is home to all kinds of official and unofficial videos. Video blogs, TV clips, movies, short films, commercials, just about anything committed to video format can be found on the service. Anyone can register for an account and upload videos, and everyone can view videos, even unregistered users.
In the early days of YouTube, the service was rampant with copyrighted video and audio ripped from other formats and split into chunks online (YouTube started without a limit to the length of videos uploaded, but then introduced a 10-minute cap, which was then raised to 15 in 2010). Several lawsuits and copyright struggles followed, and continue to pop up now. In late 2006, Google acquired YouTube for $1.65 billion. The company is still headquartered in San Bruno, CA.
YouTube has continued to grow in popularity and is consistently ranked as one of the most visited websites on the Internet. The viral success of videos on YouTube have spawned trends, songs, full-length TV shows and more.
About the Service
Now that the service has matured, more companies and networks, like CBS and the BBC, are putting material on YouTube themselves. MGM, Lions Gate Entertainment and others have signed on to provide movies to the service as well. Most of the network content is supported with unskippable ads. YouTube also has thousands of independently produced shorts and series made exclusively for the service.
In early 2010 YouTube launched an online film rental service available in the U.S. and in the spring it started streaming 60 cricket matches of the Indian Premier League. YouTube has localized versions in 24 countries and counting, each with unique content. During the presidential race of 2008, CNN hosted YouTube presidential debates that involved collecting questions recorded and uploaded by YouTube users. In the summer of 2010 YouTube reported that it was serving more than 2 billion videos a day. The service is continuing to grow and change each year, offering more videos and services as it develops. For example, more and more TVs are shipping with Wi-Fi connectivity and YouTube apps, which brings the online entertainment of the service from the computer to the living room.
Those looking for a traditional cable TV experience won’t find it with YouTube. There’s tons of content available, but sifting through it isn’t exactly as easy as thumbing through a digital TV guide. Still, the company has undergone massive changes and expansions in a very short time, which means it’s a site that should be bookmarked by any media enthusiast.