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During this year’s YouTube Brandcast held at New York’s Radio City Music Hall, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki announced that the video sharing site had 1.8 billion logged in viewers monthly. The numbers would have been larger if it included viewers who were not logged in while viewing videos on the website.

The Big Numbers

YouTube is the third most viewed website after Google and Facebook. Like most other social media and other websites, the majority of YouTube views are from a mobile device and the average viewing session on the mobile device is 40 minutes daily.

The amount of time users spend on YouTube grew by 60% over the last two years. YouTube has an annual budget of $6.35 billion with revenues of $13 billion. The last quarter net earnings for the website was $4.34 billion. In terms of actual searches, YouTube is also the second largest search engine after Google.

Although the majority of consumers use their mobile device to watch YouTube, the biggest growth was from those who watched TV. More than 150 million hours of videos are watched daily on TVs and this is expected to be the next digital battle ground.

The year 2017 was a troubled year for social media, and YouTube was not spared from problems. The website did not have any security breaches of the same scale as Facebook or Twitter; however, it did encounter glitches with its ad-matching algorithm, and the shortage of content and comment policing was quite prominent.

Growing Up

The YouTube Brandcast is the big annual event for YouTube, where they break news about company developments. It was attended by 4,200 spectators which included partners, advertisers and sponsors together to talk shop and mingle. It also brought in YouTube’s brightest stars to show advertisers and guests how relevant their content and delivery is. Among the guest performers were Trevor Noah, Ariana Grande, Camila Cabello and others.

Wojcicki voiced the unspoken concerns of the advertisers stating, “It is critically important to me, and to everyone at YouTube, that we grow responsibly.” She further added, “There is not a playbook for how open platforms operate at our scale. But the way I think about it is, it’s critical that we are on the right side of history.” YouTube did not encounter the same problems that Facebook and Twitter did. The two companies found out that their platforms were used for propaganda and fake news during the 2016 elections.

Expanding Protection

YouTube will to continue with steps to protect its viewers. One of the steps is the employment of an additional 10,000 new employees by the end of 2018. The additional personnel will boost the website’s content review teams. Along with the manpower, is the continuous development of machine-learning systems aimed at taking down offending content.

Having 1.8 billion users logging in monthly, as well as 150 million hours of videos watched every day, it is easy to believe that it is a great tool for changes to society. During the past year, the company started removing inappropriate videos, as well as removing ads from others. This is a controversial balancing act for YouTube. It has to protect the website from terrorists, agitators and propagandists.  At the same time, it has to maintain the site’s freedom of expression.

Policing content is not that easy, due to the sheer number size of YouTube. There are 50 million users who have created content for sharing, and there are 300 hours of videos uploaded every minute. This is a gargantuan task which will only become harder as more videos are uploaded every minute, every day.

YouTube stats show a glimpse of its future. Specifically, Millennials would rather watch YouTube than traditional television. There are more male YouTube users at 62% against 38% for females. More than one-third or about 27% of those between the ages of 18-34 year olds binge watch. A bold impact of YouTube is that half of users 32 years and younger will not subscribe to a pay-TV service. In addition, about 60% of people prefer online video platforms to live TV.

Streaming services like YouTube will continue to drive the viewing habits of Americans. YouTube is doing a bold move by cleaning up its act, and acting judiciously to provide an atmosphere of freedom of expression and creativity for artists and creators. It is also creating ways to make sure that hate groups do not act as bullies in the platform, while making sure that users are safe from inappropriate content and ads.

 

 

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