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Top 10 YouTube Milestones

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script Written by Sean Harris. A pioneering project within the web age, the rise and rise of YouTube is one of the richest success stories ever told! In 2015, the site hits its tenth birthday, so... Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the top 10 YouTube Milestones! For this list, we’ve looked at the defining moments of YouTube’s history. Special thanks to our users WordToTheWes, SpongeBobSquarePants, Jason brugger, Peterstenton1234 and arimazzie for submitting the idea on our Suggestion Tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Top 10 YouTube Milestones


A pioneering project within the web age, the rise and rise of YouTube is one of the richest success stories ever told! In 2015, the site hits its tenth birthday, so... Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 YouTube Milestones!

For this list, we’ve looked at the defining moments of YouTube’s history. However, we will not be looking at the best, most popular, or most defining videos to feature on the site. For straight-up world famous web videos, be sure to check out our alternative lists, such as the ‘Top 10 Viral Videos’ and ‘Another Top 10 Viral Videos’.

#10: From Humble Beginnings…

You gotta start somewhere, and YouTube started here... Initially founded by Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim, the domain name ‘www.youtube.com’ was activated on Valentine’s Day 2005. Weeks of site development ensued until the now-iconic almost 20 second clip titled ‘Me at the zoo’ was uploaded to the site on April twenty-third of the same year. A modest movie featuring co-founder Karim unenthusiastically describing the elephants of the San Diego Zoo, the YouTube curtain was quietly raised...

#9: Hello Vevo!

One of the most easily accessible and heavily used websites on the Internet, the promotional potential of YouTube is arguably second to none! Music sharing company Vevo saw that potential, and quickly made use of the YouTube Partnership Program, in order to work within the site. A music sharing service offering videos from two of ‘the big three’ major record labels within one button click of its user, Vevo quickly became a major player in the music industry!

#8: The Big 1 Billion!

In March 2013, YouTube further confirmed itself as one of the world’s most influential entities, as it surpassed a quite incredible one billion active users per month! In the ever-escalating competition to become the biggest and best media-sharing website on the planet, a stat such as that is hugely significant! At that time accounting for almost one in two internet users, the company’s popularity showed no signs of slowing down, with its business potential literally growing by the second!

#7: A New CEO

In February 2014, nine years after YouTube’s initial launch, Susan Wojcicki took over as CEO of the company. A woman once described by Adweek as ‘the most important person in advertising’, she was hugely responsible for the colossal rise of Google, and was brought in to make one of the world’s biggest businesses, even bigger! Employing a focus on offline promotions and advertising, Wojcicki is aiming to make YouTubemightier than all other Internet brands - and with her track record, she’ll probably succeed!

#6: $100 Million Worth of Content!

Propelled by the ‘YouTube Original Channel Initiative’, the site made its first attempts to create and distribute its own version of television at the beginning of the 2010s. Intended as a kick-start for a ‘Google TV’ style brand, the venture had plenty of high profile backers and participants - including Madonna, Tony Hawk, Ashton Kutcher and Shaquille O’Neal... After stuttering a little, however, the concept is due to be rethought in 2015, so watch this space!

#5: Multi-Channel Networks

Of course, not every channel is able to obtain direct partner-level status with YouTube itself - but there are alternative ways and means of making it big! Multi-Channel Networks (or MCNs) began emerging in the latter half of the 2000s, as companies sought to cross-promote smaller channels into something bigger. Machinima was, and is, an especially leading light in this field, combining their own original content with the work of others. Critics will question the value of MCNs, but there’s no denying they helped develop some of YouTube’s biggest stars!

#4: There’s an App for That…

As with anything else working within the mobile technology age, YouTube has its own app! Coming to the fore with the celebrated iPhone 5 and IOS 6 operating system, after the mobile version of the site was relaunched in 2010, it’s now one of the most often used apps across a variety of platforms. Besides developing on handheld devices, in 2009 YouTube also created a version of itself for the PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii and Xbox 360... All media is good media to these guys!

#3: The Viacom Incident

You might not see the scars, but YouTube has suffered its fair share of bumps and scrapes along its journey to success - most notably having to defend itself from big media companies like Viacom and NBC Universal in both the court of public opinion and the legal courts. In 2007, Viacom filed its own $1 billion lawsuit against Google and YouTube, as it believed that the site was committing massive copyright infringement! Viacom found that there existed over 150,000 Viacom-owned clips on the site, which had been viewed over 1.5 billion times! Despite the heavy statistics, however, YouTube emerged out of the scuffle victorious. Twice, with an undisclosed settlement ultimately settling the case.

#2: Content ID

2007 in general was a big year for YouTube, as it firmly established itself as the home of the viral video! The first semi-transparent advertising banners appeared in 2007, visible across the lower 20% of a clip, but the most significant move made by YouTube that year was the introduction of Content ID. A system put in place to further protect the company against the Viacom incident and similar ones should they arise, it scans every piece of uploaded content for copyright infringement, and potentially prevents the wrongdoers from ever making it to air!

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.
- ‘Fred’ and the Birth of YouTube-Centric Programming
- The YouTube Awards
- Google Plus
- YouTube Launched in 9 Other Countries (2007)
- Psy’s ‘Gangnam Style’ Hits 1 Billion Views (2012)

#1: Google’s Great Investment

Within a year of its creation, YouTube had escalated into one of the world’s most influential brands! A rapid rise, the heights would only get headier as the mighty Google purchased the site in 2006, for $1.65 billion! An eye-wateringly sizeable investment, the subsequent profits dwarf that initial sum into almost insignificance! From this point forward, YouTube became ever-present in the upper echelons of the Internet age! A snowball had been set in motion, and it’s been lucratively rolling ever since! In a business sense, Google won big!

Do you agree with our list? Which YouTube milestone do you think is most important? For more era-defining top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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