Youtube Office in San Bruno California
YouTube is a video sharing website on which users can upload and share videos. Three former PayPal employees created YouTube in February 2005. In November 2006, YouTube, LLC was bought by Google Inc. for $1.65 billion, and is now operated as a subsidiary of Google.
The company is based in San Bruno, California, and uses Adobe Flash Video technology to display a wide variety of user-generated video content, including movie clips, TV clips, and music videos, as well as amateur content such as video blogging and short original videos. Most of the content on YouTube has been uploaded by individuals, although media corporations including CBS, the BBC, UMG and other organizations offer some of their material via the site, as part of the YouTube partnership program.
Unregistered users can watch the videos, while registered users are permitted to upload an unlimited number of videos. Videos that are considered to contain potentially offensive content are available only to registered users over the age of 18. The uploading of videos containing defamation, pornography, copyright violations, and material encouraging criminal conduct is prohibited by YouTube's terms of service. Accounts of registered users are called "channels".
YouTube was founded by Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim, who were all early employees of PayPal. Hurley studied design at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, while Chen and Karim studied computer science together at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
According to a story that has often been repeated in the media, Chad Hurley and Steve Chen developed the idea for YouTube during the early months of 2005, after they had experienced difficulty sharing videos that had been shot at a dinner party at Chen's apartment in San Francisco. Jawed Karim did not attend the party and denied that it had occurred, and Chad Hurley commented that the idea that YouTube was founded after a dinner party "was probably very strengthened by marketing ideas around creating a story that was very digestible."
YouTube began as a venture-funded technology startup, primarily from a US$11.5 million investment by Sequoia Capital between November 2005 and April 2006. YouTube's early headquarters were situated above a pizzeria and Japanese restaurant in San Mateo, California. The domain name www.youtube.com was activated on February 15, 2005, and the website was developed over the subsequent months. The first YouTube video was entitled Me at the zoo, and shows founder Jawed Karim at San Diego Zoo. The video was uploaded on April 23, 2005, and can still be viewed on the site.
YouTube offered the public a beta test of the site in May 2005, six months before the official launch in November 2005. The site grew rapidly, and in July 2006 the company announced that more than 65,000 new videos were being uploaded every day, and that the site was receiving 100 million video views per day. According to data published by market research company comScore, YouTube is the dominant provider of online video in the United States, with a market share of around 43 percent and more than six billion videos viewed in January 2009. It is estimated that 20 hours of new videos are uploaded to the site every minute, and that around three quarters of the material comes from outside the United States. It is also estimated that in 2007 YouTube consumed as much bandwidth as the entire Internet in 2000. In March 2008, YouTube's bandwidth costs were estimated at approximately US$1 million a day. Alexa ranks YouTube as the fourth most visited website on the Internet, behind Google, Yahoo! and Facebook.
The choice of the name www.youtube.com led to problems for a similarly named website, www.utube.com. The owner of the site, Universal Tube & Rollform Equipment, filed a lawsuit against YouTube in November 2006 after being overloaded on a regular basis by people looking for YouTube. Universal Tube has since changed the name of its website to www.utubeonline.com.
In October 2006, Google Inc. announced that it had acquired YouTube for US$1.65 billion in Google stock, and the deal was finalized on November 13, 2006. Google does not provide detailed figures for YouTube's running costs, and YouTube's revenues in 2007 were noted as "not material" in a regulatory filing. In June 2008 a Forbes magazine article projected the 2008 revenue at US$200 million, noting progress in advertising sales.
In November 2008, YouTube reached an agreement with MGM, Lions Gate Entertainment and CBS which will allow the companies to post full-length films and television shows on the site, accompanied by advertisements. The move is intended to create competition with websites such as Hulu, which features material from NBC, Fox, and Disney.