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Budman: YouTube's 9-Year Rise to Dominance

YouTube co-founder Jawed Karim posted the first clip to the video-sharing site on April 23, 2005

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    NEWSLETTERS

    "Alright, so here we are, in front of the elephants..."

    And that's how the revolution began.

    Jawed Karim, one of the co-founders of YouTube, hanging out in front of some elephants at the zoo, being filmed, and uploading the video -- all 18 seconds of it -- to a fledgling service that would go on to become a huge part of our digital lives.

    As YouTube cruises towards its ninth birthday, the statistics are almost mind-numbing: 4 billion videos posted each day, and 6 billion hours of video watched each month.

    But statistics don't really tell the story. YouTube (bought by search giant Google for $1.65 billion on Oct. 9, 2006) has become our de facto search engine for video, music, and just about anything we think we might have seen once on television, in the movies, etc.

    Want directions to cook that complex meal? There are dozens of channels with names like "Epic Meal Time." Music? Forget about it. It's everywhere on YouTube, including all the music videos you miss from the early MTV days.

    Add all the new channels sprouting up, and the original HBO/Netflix-like programming said to be in the works, and you have a powerhouse that travels with you everywhere your laptop, tablet, or phone goes.

    While it's never been easy to figure out what YouTube contributes to Google's bottom line, the parent company doesn't seem to be struggling, with a stock price that's stayed hot pretty much since it went public.

    What is interesting is that YouTube has managed to stay largely independent. Even though the company is part of a giant conglomerate, YouTube users’ experience has remained largely unchanged since the 2006 Google purchase.

    Clearly here for the long haul, YouTube has changed the way we consume media of all kinds. It's not even a tween, but is maturing as we speak. 

     

    Scott can be found on Twitter: @scottbudman