YouTube is an American online video sharing and social media platform owned by Google. It was launched in February 2005 by Steve Chen, Chad Hurley, and Jawed Karim. It is the second most visited website, with more than one billion monthly users who collectively watch more than one billion hours of videos each day. As of May 2019, videos were being uploaded at a rate of more than 500 hours of content per minute.
In October 2006, YouTube was bought by Google for $1.65 billion. Google’s ownership of YouTube has also changed its business model; it no longer generates revenue from advertisements alone. YouTube now offers paid content such as movies and exclusive content. YouTube and approved creators participate in Google’s AdSense program, which generates more revenue for both parties. It has since evolved from a small video streaming platform to a large service with reported revenues of $19.8 billion in 2020.
Since its purchase by Google, YouTube has expanded beyond the website into mobile apps, network television, and the ability to link with other services. Video categories on YouTube include music videos, video clips, news, short films, feature films, documentaries, audio recordings, movie trailers, teasers, live streams, vlogs, and more. Most content is generated by individuals. This includes collaborations between YouTubers and company sponsors. Since around 2015, established media corporations such as Disney, ViacomCBS, and WarnerMedia have created and expanded their corporate YouTube channels to advertise to a larger audience.
YouTube has had a substantial social impact, influencing popular culture, internet trends, and creating multimillionaire celebrities. It has been criticized for facilitating the spread of misinformation, copyright issues, violating its users’ privacy, enabling censorship, and endangering child safety and wellbeing.