YouTube Users Watch More Than 1 Billion Hours of Video a Day, Will Soon Outpace U.S. TV

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Viewers around the world are watching more than 1 billion hours of YouTube videos every day, setting the online video service on the path to beat regular TV viewership, according to a report this week by The Wall Street Journal. The 1 billion hour milestone, which YouTube passed sometime late in 2016, is said to have been reached thanks to Google's "aggressive embrace of artificial intelligence to recommend videos."

Google started building and introducing the algorithms in 2012, and YouTube said that its 1 billion daily viewership hours represent a 10-fold increase in hours of video watched since 2012. In total, there are 400 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute, which equates to 65 years of video every day. To get through all of that content, YouTube's algorithms give viewers a nudge of what to watch next on both desktop and mobile, growing the service's numbers year-over-year.

"The corpus of content continues to get richer and richer by the minute, and machine-learning algorithms do a better and better job of surfacing the content that an individual user likes," YouTube Chief Product Officer Neal Mohan said.
With 1 billion hours of YouTube videos being viewed daily, the company's worldwide viewership will soon eclipse traditional American broadcast television numbers. According to Nielsen data, Americans watch around 1.25 billion hours of live and recorded TV every day. But, thanks to the rise of cord-cutting services, that number has been "steadily dropping in recent years."

Because Google doesn't disclose YouTube's monetary performance, it's unclear how much the company is profiting off of its growing popularity. A report from 2015 suggested that YouTube made around $4 billion in 2014 "and roughly broke even." YouTube has begun initiating ways to profit more from its increasing viewership, including the launch of the premium, $9.99/month YouTube Red service, as well as reports that began last year of the company's plan to debut its own streaming TV subscription service.

YouTube is also tweaking and learning what works best for its users. Earlier this month, the company confirmed that it'll be doing way with unskippable 30-second advertisements in 2018 because it knows that it loses some viewers completely when such ads pop up in front of videos. In their place, it's expected that shorter, but still unskippable 6-second "bumper ads" will become the norm.

For its online TV service, which was referred to as "one of the online video giant's biggest priorities" when news of it broke last year, YouTube is predicted to introduce a skinny bundle with the four major U.S. networks and a few other popular cable channels, all for less than $35/month. At the time, YouTube's efforts were compared to Apple's attempts to launch a cord-cutting package, but plans for such a skinny bundle service from Apple have fallen apart due to media companies wanting more money than Apple wanted to charge for the service.

YouTube has also pushed out a small update to its iOS app today that will ensure all links to any YouTube video consistently open up within the YouTube app instead of in a browser window, like they sometimes did in the Safari or Chrome apps. YouTube is available to download for free on the iOS App Store. [Direct Link]

Article Link: YouTube Users Watch More Than 1 Billion Hours of Video a Day, Will Soon Outpace U.S. TV
 

QCassidy352

macrumors G4
Mar 20, 2003
10,570
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Bay Area
I don't get it. What are people watching for hours at a time? I watch maybe a few minutes of YouTube a month -news highlights, a press conference, a sports highlight, something like that. It's nothing I'd just browse for entertainment. Maybe I'm the weird one...
 
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LordQ

Suspended
Sep 22, 2012
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More like "YouTube users watch a billion unskippable Ads".
Really, creators should use Vimeo and average users should keep uploading their drunken escapades to YouTube and let that crap die.
 

thisisnotmyname

macrumors 68000
Oct 22, 2014
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I don't get it. What are people watching for hours at a time? I watch maybe a few minutes of YouTube a month -news highlights, a press conference, a sports highlight, something like that. It's nothing I'd just browse for entertainment. Maybe I'm the weird one...
Cat videos.

I'm kidding, there really is content on YouTube. It may be a generational thing but there are streamers creating content and making a living with YouTube as one of the mediums they use to reach their audience.
 

trainwrecka

macrumors 6502
Apr 24, 2007
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Earth
I don't get it. What are people watching for hours at a time? I watch maybe a few minutes of YouTube a month -news highlights, a press conference, a sports highlight, something like that. It's nothing I'd just browse for entertainment. Maybe I'm the weird one...
That's where I consume most of my media. I get commentary on current events (from both normal news outlets and Internet-only outlets), I watch ads for upcoming media properties (movies, tv shows, games, etc), highlight replays of Twitch streamers (no time for the real Twitch), documentaries on all sorts of topics, etc, etc.

There is a lot you can watch on YouTube other than "fail/prank" videos. I'm a YouTube Red subscriber, so I might be different than most. YouTube Red + iTunes + Netflix - a really good trifecta for visual media.
 

DrewDaHilp1

macrumors 6502a
Mar 29, 2009
578
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All Your Memes Are Belong to US
I don't get it. What are people watching for hours at a time? I watch maybe a few minutes of YouTube a month -news highlights, a press conference, a sports highlight, something like that. It's nothing I'd just browse for entertainment. Maybe I'm the weird one...
You've never went down the rabbit hole of watching related vids and an hour later wondering how you got to where you are? I don't know if you're missing out or fortunate for not experiencing that.
 

thisisnotmyname

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Oct 22, 2014
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That's where I consume most of my media. I get commentary on current events (from both normal news outlets and Internet-only outlets), I watch ads for upcoming media properties (movies, tv shows, games, etc), highlight replays of Twitch streamers (no time for the real Twitch), documentaries on all sorts of topics, etc, etc.

There is a lot you can watch on YouTube other than "fail/prank" videos. I'm a YouTube Red subscriber, so I might be different than most. YouTube Red + iTunes + Netflix - a really good trifecta for visual media.
A little off topic but does anyone know about the group behind twitchy.tv app for Apple TV. I'm too paranoid to enter my twitch credentials in the app.
 

Tazoawake2016

macrumors member
Apr 13, 2016
57
36
Deep Space 9
I don't get it. What are people watching for hours at a time? I watch maybe a few minutes of YouTube a month -news highlights, a press conference, a sports highlight, something like that. It's nothing I'd just browse for entertainment. Maybe I'm the weird one...
Documentaries, product reviews, tech talks, music videos, old TV shows and movies, vlogs, and yes, animal videos. :D I always find something interesting to watch on youtube. And the best part? No ads. Ever.
 
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trainwrecka

macrumors 6502
Apr 24, 2007
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You've never went down the rabbit hole of watching related vids and an hour later wondering how you got to where you are? I don't know if you're missing out or fortunate for not experiencing that.
The Apple TV app killed that experience when Google took over development. I did enjoy it though. It is now a lot harder to see videos related to the one you watched and harder to find out more about the creator of the video while using the Apple TV app.
 

vertical smile

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Sep 23, 2014
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I don't get it. What are people watching for hours at a time? I watch maybe a few minutes of YouTube a month -news highlights, a press conference, a sports highlight, something like that. It's nothing I'd just browse for entertainment. Maybe I'm the weird one...
I love YouTube, and probably watch about 30 minutes a day on average.

I enjoy a lot of retro stuff. Like retro gaming, retro movie reviews, stuff about the 70's 80's and 90's.

I also like a lot of the science stuff, experiments, theories. I think I would have loved something like YouTube as a child, and who knows how it would have changed my life.

Most of the comedy, news, and political stuff I stay away from, but there is plenty of content that most people could enjoy I think.

Although, my wife gets annoyed if I watch too much YouTube, as she finds many things I watch to be strange or weird.
 

shanson27

macrumors 65816
Nov 27, 2011
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839
I don't get it. What are people watching for hours at a time? I watch maybe a few minutes of YouTube a month -news highlights, a press conference, a sports highlight, something like that. It's nothing I'd just browse for entertainment. Maybe I'm the weird one...
What are people watching for hours at a time? Music at the background :)

 

DrewDaHilp1

macrumors 6502a
Mar 29, 2009
578
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The Apple TV app killed that experience when Google took over development. I did enjoy it though. It is now a lot harder to see videos related to the one you watched and harder to find out more about the creator of the video while using the Apple TV app.
Did not know that. That takes the fun away from it. Most of my viewing is done on my desktop, I only use my TV for console gaming.
 

LizKat

macrumors 603
Aug 5, 2004
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Catskill Mountains
I don't get it. What are people watching for hours at a time? I watch maybe a few minutes of YouTube a month -news highlights, a press conference, a sports highlight, something like that. It's nothing I'd just browse for entertainment. Maybe I'm the weird one...
I'll look up a link for a music performance once in awhile to post or send someone. Short of that I sometimes watch news clips peple send me or that are embedded in articles I'm reading. For news, it takes too long to watch video compared to just reading an article, and I loathe soundbite quotes anyway. Video is defintely not how I prefer to acquire news; my cable sub and the TV became history back in 2004.
 

now i see it

macrumors 601
Jan 2, 2002
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I think anyone who spends an hour a day mucking around in YouTube qualifies as having artificial intelligence
 

npmacuser5

macrumors 65816
Apr 10, 2015
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1,204
I don't get it. What are people watching for hours at a time? I watch maybe a few minutes of YouTube a month -news highlights, a press conference, a sports highlight, something like that. It's nothing I'd just browse for entertainment. Maybe I'm the weird one...
My grandson, pre-teen, loves YouTube and so does his friends. Never wants to watch TV for any reason. I wonder if music included in the statistics. A whole generation is growing up with YouTube rather then Saturday Cartoons. A huge problem for TV networks in the long run.
 

AngerDanger

macrumors 601
Dec 9, 2008
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I don't get it. What are people watching for hours at a time? I watch maybe a few minutes of YouTube a month -news highlights, a press conference, a sports highlight, something like that. It's nothing I'd just browse for entertainment. Maybe I'm the weird one...
I'll look up a link for a music performance once in awhile to post or send someone. Short of that I sometimes watch news clips peple send me or that are embedded in articles I'm reading. For news, it takes too long to watch video compared to just reading an article, and I loathe soundbite quotes anyway. Video is defintely not how I prefer to acquire news; my cable sub and the TV became history back in 2004.
It might not necessarily be that many are watching for entire hours, but the aggregate of many few-minute views is hours of watched video in total.

I watch a lot of retro tech review videos—audio devices from the 50s and 60s that stored content on magnetized wire thinner than human hair—that can be 20-30 minutes. They sort of add up. There's also a 45 minute documentary about Channel 4's brand identity over the years that one YouTuber (never gonna like that term) created using archival footage, and there's a 2.5 hour documentary on NeXT's history.
 

MrGuder

macrumors 68030
Nov 30, 2012
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Which is why cable tv prices keep going up and up and up, people are cancelling cable tv and watching online so cable tv companies have to keep jacking up prices to cover for basic and digital cable tv channels. My cable tv went up again $9.00 a month.
 

avanpelt

macrumors 68030
Jun 2, 2010
2,914
3,652
More like "YouTube users watch a billion unskippable Ads".
Really, creators should use Vimeo and average users should keep uploading their drunken escapades to YouTube and let that crap die.
That's one reason why I pay $9.99 a month for Google Play Music. It includes YouTube Red, which means I no longer see ads before YouTube videos on any device that's signed into my Google account. Vimeo is fine; but YouTube is far, far ahead of Vimeo in terms of the amount of content. I don't foresee that changing anytime soon.
[doublepost=1488298686][/doublepost]
Which is why cable tv prices keep going up and up and up, people are cancelling cable tv and watching online so cable tv companies have to keep jacking up prices to cover for basic and digital cable tv channels. My cable tv went up again $9.00 a month.
Like many others who held on to the old AT&T and Verizon unlimited plans for years, I plan to hang on to the $35.00 promo rate on the DIRECTV Now "Go Big" plan. That really was the best deal going in terms of being able to watch 100+ channels of live tv (and it doesn't include any junk like home shopping channels!). Add HBO for $5.00/month (as I did) and you have access to a few HBO live channels plus the entire HBO on demand catalog. That's hard to beat for $5.00/month.

Just last week, I cancelled our standard DIRECTV subscription. We were paying $105.00/month and we watched probably 15 of the 125+ channels we were paying for. We didn't even have any premium channels for that price -- just two HD TVs with their whole-home "Genie" DVR.

We don't have DVR with DIRECTV Now; but we really haven't missed it since we're able to watch on demand content for an increasing number of networks through the networks' own apps through our DIRECTV Now subscription. When DIRECTV Now does add DVR sometime this year (as they said they expect to), I'm sure it will be an extra charge for people on the $35.00 plan; but it'll still likely be far less expensive than the $105.00/month we were paying for standard DIRECTV.
 
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earthTOmitchel

Contributing Editor
Staff member
Mar 6, 2015
384
576
Louisiana
I don't get it. What are people watching for hours at a time? I watch maybe a few minutes of YouTube a month -news highlights, a press conference, a sports highlight, something like that. It's nothing I'd just browse for entertainment. Maybe I'm the weird one...
Every Nintendo Switch unboxing possible.
 

macduke

macrumors G4
Jun 27, 2007
10,566
14,057
Central U.S.
I don't get it. What are people watching for hours at a time? I watch maybe a few minutes of YouTube a month -news highlights, a press conference, a sports highlight, something like that. It's nothing I'd just browse for entertainment. Maybe I'm the weird one...
I probably consume 70% of my video content through YouTube. There are so many science videos, people doing random experiments, talks on philosophy, talks on psychology, people talking about design and communication, tutorials on how to achieve specific things in graphic design programs, tutorials on how to setup servers and databases, tutorials on how to fix cars, tutorials on carpentry and house maintenance, there are sketch comedies, cooking videos, full fledged TV shows from up and coming production companies that have million dollar budgets, tech reviews, game reviews, "let's play" gaming content, and much more.

I'm always amazed when I see people who don't understand how huge YouTube is. These people running these channels are making hundreds of thousands and even millions or tens of millions of dollars per year putting out content. The production value on many of these channels is outstanding. The sheer volume of things that I've learned to do through YouTube is incredible. I've learned how to put special effects into videos using After Effects, how to seal a driveway, how to make wooden dovetails, how to replace the fog lamp assembly on a Subaru Outback, how to lay a stone patio, how to more efficiently clean my gutters, how to replace a toilet, how to play a few pieces on the piano, how to seal cracks in my foundation, how to frame and sheetrock walls, how to configure certain WordPress plugins, how to cook several different foods—and that's just a few of the things I remember looking up in the past year or so. It's fantastic and I'd be lost without it. Google was incredibly smart to buy them all those years ago, and they've done a decent job growing it into something that is super useful and entertaining. It's by far my favorite Google product, and one of the few Google things that I regularly use beyond their search engine.
 

LizKat

macrumors 603
Aug 5, 2004
5,307
29,723
Catskill Mountains
Which is why cable tv prices keep going up and up and up, people are cancelling cable tv and watching online so cable tv companies have to keep jacking up prices to cover for basic and digital cable tv channels. My cable tv went up again $9.00 a month.
I think the cable companies made a huge mistake in the 90s resisting pressure for a la carte tier constructions. They went immediately to the "it's not sustainable, you'll never get to see the new channels you might like" instead of making an effort to experiment immediately with customer-oriented ways of making desired bundles.

Since when in the world of free markets is trying something and letting it sink or swim not an option?! So much for free markets. Shareholder orientation has been killing "free" markets for decades now if you ask me. Let the shareholder assume some risk for a change. That's what a free market is about. But no. Must have quarterly returns showing more profit, better margin, more customers, less churn. Note to world: it's unsustainable.

Now look at what has happened. "new" --or retro-- channels are all over the net, and the cable companies are hemorrhaging customers who don't care to pay for entire tiers of stuff, don't have time to watch much TV anyway, and certainly don't care to pay for their neighbor to be able to watch sports or some other niche interest in a cableco-defined bundle for less then if it were a la carte. Let Joe Six pay for his own sports programs and let me watch HGTV for whatever it costs if I feel like paying for it, how about that... but the cablecos said no back in the 90s, and keep saying it into the 00s, and so I said sayonara and never looked back after I had them uncable my house.

But, being the corporatists the cable companies are... now we see the vertical integration efforts. "If we can't get you to pay for bundled content then we'll just merge with your provider and jack your net access fee." And forget about net neutrality in the age of deregulation coming in now under Trump and the GOP. Pretty soon whatever's not got the corporate stamp of approval will arrive on our laptops and phones at the speed of molasses in January.

The next new thing will be local stage companies, and to the cablecos a raspberry and keep yer canned entertainment... Oh I forgot, we're already seeing a jump in local stage companies. It's a well kept secret from cablecos though. They will never learn until the last customer bails to hang a sheet on the wall and make rabbit ear shadows in the light of a solar powered lantern to amuse his kids.