YouTube was founded by three former PayPal employees in 2005, after they saw a gap in the market for a video sharing website. In 2006, YouTube was bought by Google for $1.65 billion and the site has since grown into a media giant.
Some of the biggest media corporations in the world now use the site to share their own material as part of the YouTube Partnership program. In fact, most entertainment and broadcast companies now have their own YouTube channel. Companies are now recognising the power of the website and just how much of an impact it has had on not only the entertainment industry, but the media industry as a whole.
Most content uploaded to the website comes from individuals, many of whom consider YouTube their job and their channel a primary source of income. Over the years, YouTube users, commonly referred to as "YouTubers," have turned their videos into their careers and this has had an outstanding impact on the state of the entertainment industry.
YouTube now has over a billion users, with people watching hundreds of millions of hours of videos on the site every day. YouTube as a whole, even YouTube mobile alone, now reaches more 18-34 and 18-49 year olds than any cable network in the United States of America.
The rise of the YouTuber has forced the rest of the media industry to view YouTubers as legitimate content creators and entertainers, recognising their popularity and acknowledging them in mainstream entertainment.
The most common ways to make money on YouTube are the YouTube Partnership scheme, Google AdSense and by collaborating with companies on sponsorships and advertisement. YouTubers also regularly work with a wide range of different companies, receiving payment in exchange for advertising a brand, or their products. Sponsored videos and content created for promotional purposes are incredibly popular on YouTube.
I spoke to a number of YouTubers on the topic, asking them about their channels, their views and how they work with various brands through YouTube:
Even the law is changing to incorporate YouTube culture into everyday life and in 2014, it came to light that 'video bloggers' are breaking the law if they fail to inform their viewers that they are being paid to promote a particular product, according to the Advertising Standards Authority.
YouTube is particularly popular as it caters to the current interests of most people, which is people. People want to watch other people, a trend that can be seen in the current reality and Kardashian era. More than this, the general public are becoming increasingly interested in other, relatable people. The average person is now turning off from traditional celebrities and turning toward more 'normal' celebrities, which are the Zoellas and Tanya Burrs of the world.
I asked YouTubers if they preferred to watch content online rather than on television. They were also asked why they thought YouTube was so popular:
To keep up with the changing times and preferences of viewers, entertainment continues to move online. People are becoming busier and as a result, have less and less time to sit in front of a television.
Online entertainment is quicker, easier and more accessible, suiting the needs of the average modern day person more than traditional entertainment.
Many in the industry are now focusing on online entertainment only, many of them creating content purely for an online audience, not for the purposes of television.
YouTube culture has now become so powerful that the biggest YouTubers are being considered celebrities in their own right. Events such as VidCon were created for the sole purpose of bringing YouTubers and their fans together.
YouTubers are becoming music artists like Troye Sivan, filmmakers like Shane Dawson, presenters like Grace Helbig and much more, and because of the following they have on YouTube, they exceed in the things they branch out into.
I asked YouTubers if they thought YouTube had changed the entertainment industry and if so, why they thought this was:
There is no denying that YouTube has become a legitimate source of entertainment for millions, all in just a decade. YouTube is now competing with some of the biggest television programmes and often, it wins in terms of views.
Some believe that YouTube will become an all-encompassing entertainment service where users will watch and listen and play as interactive experiences, with virtual reality incorporated into the website.
Others think YouTube will become the home of co-viewing and social television, where users will watch shows remotely with friends and chat about them afterwards, all on the website.
However the website changes in the future, it's clear to see that YouTube has changed the entertainment industry forever.