Some people binge-watch Netflix. Some people binge watch Hulu. Some people binge-watch both. I personally have been binge-watching YouTube for the last several years.
I can assure you that most of you reading this right now have viewed a video on YouTube sometime this week, especially with all of the movie-trailer fiasco going on. You could have watched a music video, you could have watched a gaming walkthrough, you could have watched Jimmy Fallon lip-syncing against Joseph Gordon Levitt. Either way, you have contributed to one of the largest growing websites in existence.
It might be easy for you to think lightly of YouTube. Perhaps you only visit the site when your friends send you links of amusing cat videos or a few minutes of slapstick humor. It's easy to not take the site seriously until you know how the site started out. I think it's time for a history lesson.
The website started on February 14, 2005 when former PayPal workers Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim had an idea for a website where people could upload and share videos across the Internet. They posted their first video on April 23rd of the same year. The clip was titled "Me at the Zoo", and it featured 19 seconds of Jawed Karim standing in front of elephants at the San Diego Zoo.
Their first real success on the site came in December, when Saturday Night Live uploaded the hilarious music video skit "Lazy Sunday". The video recieved almost two million views in a week and ultimately launched the success of Andy Samberg, the creator of the video.
On October 9, 2006, YouTube, which was still a small company being run over a pizzeria, was bought out by Google for 1.65 billion dollars. This brought about a whole new Era for the site.
YouTube quickly became known as the home of such viral videos as "Charlie Bit My Finger" and Psy's "Gangnam Style" music video. The views accumulated by these videos landed YouTube at the number three spot for most visited website on the Internet. The only sites to beat it are Google and Facebook.
With all of the billions of daily views that YouTube receives, many individuals have turned to YouTube as a career choice. These people make channels, where they upload a steady flow of videos.
Yes, for those who don't know, there are many people who make quite a sustainable living by uploading videos to YouTube. According to my research, the average successful YouTuber earns about 5 dollars per thousand views, although this number can vary greatly. This may not seem like very much, considering how much a thousand views really is, but let's look at one of YouTube's most successful content providers.
Meet Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, although you might know him as Pewdiepie. He is an incredibly popular Swedish gamer on YouTube, who uploads approximately one or two videos a day. These videos can range from simple "Let's Plays", where he plays through a video games, to weekly vlogs, which he titles "Fridays with Pewdiepie."
Felix currently has over 36 million subscribers. 36 millions! That means is you took the entire population of New York City and multiplied it by four, it still would be less than the amount of people that regularly watch his videos.
His average videos generate anywhere from 1 million to 7 million views. If Pewdiepie gets paid 5 dollars per 1 thousand views, that means his average video will make at least $5,000. If he uploads two videos a day, that's approximately $10,000 a day. I'm not going to do the math for the entire year, but according to celebritynetworth.com, Felix makes about $7 million a year. And yes, he makes that much for playing video games and posting the videos online.
Not all successful YouTubers are gamers. Jenna Marbles is one of the most popular women on the site, and her channel focuses on both vlogs and comedy. Though she may not be quite as famous as Felix, she still makes a respectable amount. According to the same site, Jenna makes somewhere around $4 million.
Sure, these YouTubers make a lot of money on the website, but how can they try and keep up with movie stars and television actors? Well, they are starting to become one and the same.
Grace Helbig is a popular vlogger and comedian on YouTube that is outspoken about her introversion. She took to YouTube and social media because it was a way that she could be social without having to tolerate a large amount of people. She now hosts her own talk show, called "The Grace Helbig Show' on E!
The Fine Bros. are two brothers named Benny and Rafi Fine. Their YouTube channel centers around reactions. As simple as that sounds, it is wildly entertaining to watch. They take a viral video, a music video, or even a video game and set it down in front of kids, teens, elders, and even other YouTubers. The success of the channel has been noticed by Nickelodeon, who are going to try to turn it into a television series.
Ian Hecox (left) and Anthony Padilla (right) make up the comedy channel Smosh, which has been around since 2005, the year YouTube started. They gained a massive fan-base, and for a while they were the most subscribed channel on the site. They are even more successful now, as they continue to post daily to both of their Smosh channels and their Smosh Games channel, where they play games along with a couple of other YouTubers. On July 23rd of this year, Smosh has their very own movie coming out, which will be avaliable online and in select theaters.
These three YouTube sensations are just a taste of the success that these video creators have garnered over the years. YouTube has blown up since it first came out years ago, and it currently gets more views a day than any other movie or television show in existence.
A big reason why YouTube is so popular is because of its accessibility. People are drawn to Netflix and Hulu because they can watch it on their phones and tablets. Guess what, you can watch YouTube on the go as well. Not everybody has time to snuggle up on the couch with a bowl of popcorn and pop in a comedy special or click over to Comedy Central. That's why there is YouTube, where comedy exists in droves.
Chances are in the next few years, people will start taking YouTube more seriously. Hopefully one day some of these YouTube sensations will become more household names. But hey, these are just my thoughts.