It is ranked the second-most popular site by Alexa Internet, just after Google. YouTube, once an independent service in the year 2005, was later bought by Google in November 2006. Other than video-sharing, its many features include allowing users to view and upload videos, rate, comment, like, report as well as subscribe to the other users.
Its unique algorithm is what sets it apart from its competitors which include search engines and other media-sharing platforms namely Netflix, Spotify, Dailymotion, Hulu, Bing, etc. As the name suggests, the content on YouTube is organized keeping in regard the choices made by the user such as providing recommendations based on liked or subscribed videos, personalized music libraries, what’s trending, etc. One of the major reasons for its popularity, recognition and a 1.8 billion people wide customer base is that a vast majority of its content is absolutely free of cost.
YouTube also offers additional paid features such as movie rentals, subscription-based premium channels as well as YouTube Music and YouTube Premium services, respectively offering ad-free music streaming and ad-free access to all content.
YouTube has had a huge impact on the music, movie and television industry. Propagation of music before YouTube was mainly via the American cable channel MTV or through other old fashioned, rather classic, means such as CDs, vinyl records, tapes or the radio. The introduction of YouTube has made it much easier and effective for struggling artists to showcase their content and allow them to engage with fans all around the world. A wide variety of music videos, movie clips, movie trailers, TV show clips, short films, and documentaries are also showcased on this platform. Media corporations such as Vevo have chalked out partnerships to offer some of their content directly via YouTube. A number of celebrities and famous personalities have also taken to this medium to address and voice their opinion on social and political issues, share a part of their lives or sometimes even discuss personal agendas and public scandals.
YouTube has digitally revolutionized education. It has facilitated communication between teachers and students across the globe. Learning and acquiring new skills on absolutely any subject is now at your fingertips.
In the year 2010, YouTube surprised its users with a video series subsuming an overview and a recap of each year’s viral videos, events, trends, and music called YouTube Rewind. YouTube also has a number of fun compilation videos of popular internet challenges, sports highlights, fail videos, vines and so much more.
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Although, with these innumerable boons comes some inevitable disdain. Some videos on YouTube showcase violence, pornography, conflict-sparking conspiracies, and other unsettling content. However, measures have been taken to curb this issue. Videos deemed potentially inappropriate are age-restricted and can only be accessed by registered users above 18 years of age. Users also have the option to report a video that they believe is offensive in any manner.
Private individuals, as well as large production companies, have used YouTube to grow audiences. YouTube has now almost fully substituted mass retail and radio promotion. Being a ‘YouTuber’ has also become a full-time profession for some individuals. Overall, YouTube has now become a home and stage for content creators.