YouTube now has over a billion unique users a month, eight years after first upload

YouTube blocking microsoftYouTube has certainly come a long, long way since co-founder Jawed Karim posted the very first clip to the site back in 2005. He could never have imagined the video streaming service would become the giant it is today, with the site confirming this week that it now has more than a billion unique users a month. There’s only 6.9 billion on the planet for goodness sake.

How has it managed that? Is it simply that most of us are suckers for cat videos? Or the fact that behind it sits Web giant Google, which has carefully managed its path to video-streaming global domination since acquiring the company for $1.65 billion in 2006. It’s probably a bit of both.

YouTube announced news of its billion-monthly-users milestone in a post on its blog on Wednesday.

“From the aspiring filmmaker in his basement and the next great pop musician, to the fans all around the world who tune in, subscribe and share their favorite videos with the planet, thank you for making YouTube what it is today. You have truly created something special,” the YouTube team wrote.

In a possibly futile attempt to put the figures into perspective, the post tells us that nearly half of all people with Internet access visit YouTube (hang on, only half?), that its monthly viewership is equal to about 10 Super Bowl audiences (are you serious? just 10?), and that if YouTube were a country, it’d be the third largest on the planet after China and India (say what? actually, that makes perfect sense).

Besides all of the aforementioned cat videos, Web users have also flocked to YouTube to try to make sense of PSY’s Gangnam Style song/performance/horse-riding dance, with the video last December becoming the site’s first to reach a billion views.

Of course, YouTube has also expanded massively recently, spending hundreds of millions of dollars on original programming and launching a slew of new channels in an effort to pull in more advertising dollars.

According to Web data site Alexa, the video service is currently the third most popular website on the Internet after Google and Facebook.

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