Everyone knows the gag that the Internet is basically just a huge forum for cat videos. According to statements made by Google to Reuters Monday, this running gag is not all comedy. Google said that its widely-popular online video site YouTube now streams four billion videos around the world per day, which is a 25% increase over the last eight months.
That's a lot of LOLcats.
Google reported that 60 hours of video footage is uploaded onto YouTube every minute, which is up from 48 hours per minute just last May.
Google purchased YouTube back in 2006 for $1.6 billion dollars, and is now saying that this investment is returning major revenue. Google's graphical "display ads," which are ads embedded in a page alongside viewing content, are generating $5 billion annually, based on run rate basis. And many of these ads are running in YouTube.
Conversely, Google reported that only three billion YouTubes per week are monetized.
Daily YouTube views were at three billion in May 2011, globally, according to one report. The company put that into perspective, stating that this is one view for half the world's population per day. This is an even more interesting stat, considering that the YouTube views were at 5.1 billion views in the US for the entire month of April 2011. What this means is that people outside the US account for a lot of the total views.
YouTube spent a reported $100 million to secure original content on their site, launched in October 2011 and spread across a slew of new YouTube channels that feature content from such diverse sources as Ashton Kutcher, Amy Poehler, Shaq, IGN, and The Wall Street Journal.
Yet despite these efforts, and the obviously growing number of eyes on YouTube, the actual time spent on the site is relatively low. As reported by the New Yorker, people spend an average of only 15 minutes per day on YouTube, which pales in comparison to the average four to five hours of television watched by Americans per day.
Translation: YouTube's push into original programming, and a more television-like viewing experience, has so far not made for television-like minutes-per-day stats.
And it's hard to say whether it ever will. Industry trends show that smart TVs are the next big thing, with Internet companies scrambling to package their content for home viewing through set-top boxes or through Internet-ready television sets. While the combination of the average, entertainment-crazed consumer's obsession with television and Web content will likely be a big development front for 2012, there likely will always be a place for short videos viewed directly on the Web itself, where YouTube clearly is the frontrunner.