YouTube was launched in 2005. It was founded by three PayPal employees: Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim, who ran the company from an office above a small restaurant in San Mateo.
The first video uploaded to the platform was “Me at the zoo”, featuring Karim. By the years end, YouTube was hosting over two million videos per day on its website and was averaging over 20 million daily active users.
It wouldn’t be long before Google scooped up YouTube, acquiring the startup for $1.65 billion in late 2006. What was considered at the time to be a huge reach for a startup which had shown no capability or interest in generating profit is now recognised as one of the smartest acquisitions of the past two decades.
Time magazine would include YouTube on its person of the year cover the same year. The person in question was ‘you’, specifically content creators, with the cover incorporating a mirror, rather than YouTube itself. As YouTube grew, it added more features to serve content creators, such as ratings, comments, embed functionality, livestreaming and revenue sharing.
Many celebrities have been created through YouTube, with vlogging, gaming and comedy initially being the most popular types of content. On today’s YouTube, there are hundreds of channels with millions of subscribers on almost every topic, with the highest grossing channel of 2020 actually being a kid’s toy channel called Ryan’s World.
In 2014, YouTube launched a premium service aimed at curbing the loss of revenue from ad-blocking. YouTube Red was unsuccessful in its mission, reaching less than 10 million subscribers before it relaunched as YouTube Premium. Premium, which bundles ad-free viewing with YouTube Music, hit 30 million subscribers in 2020.
We have collected data and statistics on YouTube. Read on below to find out more.
YouTube key statistics
- YouTube generated $19.7 billion revenue in 2020, a 30.4 percent increase year-on-year
- Over 2.3 billion people access YouTube once a month
- YouTube’s most subscribed channel is T-Series, however Ryan’s World generated the most revenue in 2020
- YouTube Premium reached 30 million subscribers in 2020
|Launch date||April 2005|
|HQ||San Bruno, California|
|People||Susan Wojcicki (CEO), Scott Silver (VP, Engineering), Sundar Pichai (Alphabet CEO)|
YouTube annual revenue
Sources: Alphabet, eMarketer, WSJ
YouTube channels revenue
|#1 – Ryan’s World||$29.5 million|
|#2 – Mr Beast||$24 million|
|#3 – Dude Perfect||$23 million|
|#4 – Rhett and Link||$20 million|
|#5 – Markiplier||$19.5 million|
|#6 – Preston||$19 million|
|#7 – Like Nastya||$18.5 million|
|#8 – Blippi||$17 million|
|#9 – David Dobrik||$15.5 million|
|#10 – Jeffree Star||$15 million|
Note: This covers monthly active users.
YouTube Premium subscribers
Note: YouTube launched Premium in 2018, after failing to gain subscribers with YouTube Red.
Source: Edison Trends, YouTube
YouTube Music vs Spotify: users
What is the most subscribed channel on YouTube?
T-Series is the most subscribed channel on YouTube, with 176 million subscribers as of February 2021
What is the most viewed video on YouTube?
Baby Shark Dance by Pinkfrog Kids’ Songs and Stories is the most viewed YouTube video as of March 2021, with 8.5 billion views
Where is YouTube ranked on global engagement?
Alexa and SimilarWeb both rank YouTube second in global engagement, behind Facebook
What is the male to female ratio of YouTube viewers?
Male/female ratio of YouTube viewers stands at 11:9 (We Are Social/Hootsuite)
How many times has YouTube been downloaded?
YouTube has been downloaded over five billion times, although it does come pre-installed on Android devices
How many YouTube channels have over 250,000 subscribers?
Over 65,000 YouTube channels have hit the 250,000 subscriber mark
What is the average video length of a YouTube video?
According to Pew Research Center, the average video length is 12 minutes
How much content is uploaded to YouTube every minute?
500 hours of content are apparently uploaded to YouTube, according to The Street
What was the first YouTube video to reach one million views?
A Nike ad featuring footballer Ronaldinho was the first to reach one million (The Drum)
What was the first YouTube video to reach one billion views?
South Korean artist PSY’s Gangnam Style was the first to reach one billion
How much is YouTube worth?
YouTube could be worth between $140 and $300 billion if spun-out into its own company (VentureBeat)