From elephants to cats to Justin Bieber… YouTube is 10!

What have you achieved since 2005? What one thing are you most proud of? Chances are for 99.9% of the population, it’s nothing compared to Jawed Karim’s impending success after recording himself at a zoo, so we attended a recent BFI event in London to hear all about it.

Yes, ten years ago this year, a 26-year-old fellow by the name of Jawed Karim uploaded a video of himself standing in front of some elephants at San Diego Zoo on a video-sharing platform he’d been testing, and almost overnight since he uploaded it came the birth of one of the most-recognised platforms in the world – YouTube!

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With this new invention came a seismic shift in the way we consume and publish video content, and today the video-hosting site attracts more than a billion monthly viewers, half coming from mobile devices no less. 300 hours of video are uploaded every minute. In context, if you were to watch every single minute of every YouTube video uploaded only in the last 24 hours, it’d take you over 49 years!

Much like your favourite newspapers, magazines and broadcasters are, it’s clear to see that YouTube is now regarded as a medium in itself. And of interest to us PR people, influencers are a massive part of YouTube’s ecosystem, too, with success on the platform coming in its drones in the past decade. Careers are born overnight – SB.TV’s Jamal Edwards (linked here is his most viewed video with British breakthrough artist Ed Sheeran ), one of Britain’s youngest ever music producers and MBE recipient, is a product of YouTube, while now-world-famous musicians including a once-shy Justin Bieber were discovered on the platform, too… This is all without mentioning the 821 million people who have watched Charlie bite a finger or the staggering 2.34 billion people (that’s over a third of the world) who have seen Psy show off the Gangnam Style. We won’t even mention cats, who the internet was obviously made for.

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The even scarier thought is what’s next. Like all brands, YouTube are keeping their cards close to their chest, but we were left with some pretty huge figures to mull over. Firstly, the world is moving online (though this isn’t really new news). The new news is this – right now, there are 3 billion internet users, and by 2020 that number will be nearer 5 billion. That’s five billion potential YouTube contributors, and five billion potential viewers. If ever there is a company guided by imagination it’s YouTube. The possibilities are, quite literally, endless.