YouTube has finally released data on how popular the video site is – and it shows in the numbers that the video giant is still here to stay. People watch one billion hours of YouTube videos around the world every day, the company’s data shows. YouTube reached this milestone last year but it was announced this week on a blog post.
The rise in the time spent is attributed to the move back in March 2012, when the company took a gamble and decided to change its metric from views to time spent. Cristos Goodrow, VP of Engineering at YouTube, explained further in the blog,”While everyone seemed focused on how many views a video got, we thought the amount of time someone spent watching a video was a better way to understand whether a viewer really enjoyed it. It wasn’t an easy call, but we thought it would help us make YouTube a more engaging place for creators and fans.”
In a September 2015 interview with Digital Market Asia, Mr Goodrow had emphasised on why views are a bad metric and that time spent is a better indicator of engagement,“People’s time is precious to them and if they are spending more of their time on YouTube, it is an indication that YouTube is more important to them and is providing more value to them.”
After changing the recommendation system based not on views, but the time spent, YouTube won an Emmy in 2013 for the new system that made people want to spend more time on it.
The gamble seems to have paid off and the company has come far on the back of machine learning and is still the biggest player on the video market. The Wall Street Journal reported that in comparison, Netflix has a record of 116 million hours daily while Facebook has a record of 100 million hours.
Mr Goodrow puts the milestone into perspective and says in the blog, “If you were to sit and watch a billion hours of YouTube, it would take you over 100,000 years. 100,000 years ago, our ancestors were crafting stone tools and migrating out of Africa while mammoths and mastodons roamed the Earth. If you spent 100,000 years travelling at the speed of light, you could travel from one end of the Milky Way to the other.”
“That’s the great thing about this milestone. It represents the enjoyment of the fantastically diverse videos that creative people make every single day. Around the world, people are spending a billion hours every day rewarding their curiosity, discovering great music, keeping up with the news, connecting with their favourite personalities, or catching up with the latest trend,” he concludes.