YouTube marks fifth anniversary

Online video site sets up channel to mark birthday

YouTube, has launched a "YouTube Five Year" channel to mark the fifth anniversary of the launch of its beta version in May 2005.

Often credited with democratising the internet through user-generated content, YouTube entered its fifth year this month with over two billion views per day — almost double the number of prime-time viewers attracted by America's top three television networks.

The YouTube Five Year channel features the "My YouTube Story" project, a series of videos about individual experiences on how YouTube has impacted their lives. Internet pioneer Vint Cerf and American journalist Katie Couric are among those selected to curate the project.

Originally created by Chad Hurley and Steve Chen as a way to upload and share video files, YouTube evolved as its viewership grew. Google was quick to identify its success, and acquired the brand in October 2006 for $US1.65 million. In November 2007, CNN partnered with YouTube to deliver debates during the US Presidential campaigns. Its began offering high definition content in 1080p resolution in November 2009, expanding to 720p in December 2008.

According to statistics firm Website Monitoring, the number of advertisers using display ads on YouTube in the past year increased ten-fold, with 94 of Advertising Age's top 100 advertisers having run campaigns on YouTube and the Google Content Network.

A person currently spends 15 minutes on average a day on YouTube, but its creators are targeting TV's five hours per day grip on viewers.

Google recently announced the launch of Google TV, a web-based platform that will allow users to watch various content, including YouTube, directly from a Sony television or through a Logitech set-top box.

YouTube has attracted its fair share of copyright lawsuits. For example, it has been in litigation with Viacom over copyright infringements since 2007.

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