How YouTube changed media

Today, it is generally common knowledge that when trying to track down your favourite viral video of a dancing dog, YouTube is the site to go to. It is the largest and most widely used video sharing website, and is the third most visited website in the world. The site is by far the most influential of its kind, with no other site able to compete. There are a variety of reasons YouTube has gained the popularity that it has today, many of which have directly resulted in the ever changing the world of media today.


Although other similar sites had gone before, none were quite as successful as YouTube was and continues to be. The first video sharing site was founded in 1997, but closed just a few years later due to financial and technical difficulties in 2001. This meant that the World Wide Web was missing a niche in the market and opportunity for video sharing. There were individual websites which had the ability to upload video, but no way of seeing these videos together, or searching for them in one place. Of the sites that did exist, users commonly came across issues such as a lack of storage on the site  limiting video uploads, a limited viewing experience due to issues with resolution and video quality, as well as problems  with a need to have the relevant software installed and issues with downloading.

YouTube aimed to address these issues, and create a video sharing site that was unlike any other. The site was founded in 2005, filling a gap in the market, and instantly gained popularity due to being ‘one on its own’, and appearing to have a fresh perspective, being seen as an up and coming independent company. After having initially attracted a younger demographic, the site focused on its ability to being more widely accessible and relevant to all.


So what makes YouTube significant?

YouTube has always been somewhat ahead of its time, ensuring it constantly evolves to keep up with the changing world around it. Technological developments are rapidly increasing and improving, changing at a rapid rate. YouTube constantly tries to keep up with these changes, offering a general purpose platform for video sharing in addition to providing the user with suggestions of other similar content, which in turn results in more views to videos that may otherwise not be seen. The site also encourages interaction between users, both viewer to viewer, and allowing viewers an opportunity to interact with those that have uploaded the video.

What makes YouTube stand out from the rest is the variety of opportunity it provides.  YouTube changed the way videos were hosted, and allows users to choose to be an active part of the site or simply use the site from a viewing perspective. YouTube offers the ability to upload, view, rate, share, add to favourites, report, comment and subscribe to specific users profiles. It also provides various levels of Video Hosting Services, from the release of music and video as well as feature length films and programmes.

YouTube is valuable to both the public and e-commerce as it hosts  a variety of cultures and genres, and so provides a plethora of opportunity for advertising and the use of media representation. The site provides videos of a high quality and resolution which is easy to use, and ensures a better user experience. Not only does the site host videos, but it is also concerned with preserving film and video from the archives, in addition to progressing rapidly and looking towards the future of video technology.