YouTube viewers now consuming 1B hours of video content a day

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YouTube says people around the world are now consuming a billion hours of video content per day on the site. According to the announcement, the milestone was reached last year, but YouTube only shared the news yesterday.

“If you were to sit and watch a billion hours of YouTube, it would take you over 100,000 years,” writes YouTube’s VP of engineering, Cristos Goodrow, on the Official YouTube Blog, offering a frame of reference for the billion-hour statistic.

YouTube says its focus on time spent watching a video, versus video views, helps drive the number of hours users spend watching videos on the site.

“A few years back, we made a big decision at YouTube,” writes Goodrow, “While everyone seemed focused on how many views a video got, we thought the amount of time someone spent watching a video was a better way to understand whether a viewer really enjoyed it.”

The Wall Street Journal reports that the number of hours spent watching videos on YouTube has increased tenfold since 2012 when the site retooled its algorithm for video recommendations – aiming to increase user engagement and retention.

A former Google manager told the Wall Street Journal that before 2012 video recommendations were mostly based on what other users clicked to watch after viewing a specific video; but, after the retool in 2012, machine learning applications allowed the site to, “…parse massive databases of user history to improve video recommendations.”

The Wall Street Journal says YouTube’s global viewership is on track to surpass U.S. television viewership based on Nielsen’s numbers that 1.25 billion hours of TV is watched everyday in America.

YouTube’s press page reports the site has over a billion users – “almost one-third of all people on the Internet” – and more than half of YouTube views happen on mobile devices.

About The Author

Amy Gesenhues is Third Door Media’s General Assignment Reporter, covering the latest news and updates for Marketing Land and Search Engine Land. From 2009 to 2012, she was an award-winning syndicated columnist for a number of daily newspapers from New York to Texas. With more than ten years of marketing management experience, she has contributed to a variety of traditional and online publications, including,, and Sales and Marketing Management Magazine. Read more of Amy’s articles.


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