YouTube is only five years old; its very first video was uploaded on April, 23 2005, a clip of its co-founder at a zoo, lasting a mere nineteen seconds long. CBS and NBC both launched their television networks in 1941, making them both 69 years old in 2010, with ABC being founded a few years later in 1948. Even though YouTube is sixty-four years the junior of CBS and NBC, it today announced that it receives a staggering two billion video everyday throughout the site – that’s almost double the number that three major television networks receive combined.

What’s even more astonishing is the fact that, although that is nearly twice the number that switch on the three major American TV stations, users on average spend just fifteen minutes a day, compared to the average five hours that people sit in front of their television sets. To celebrate its fifth birthday this month, YouTube has released these figures and has setup a Five Year channel, presenting videos by major YouTubers telling people how YouTube has made such a huge difference to their life.

It was only October of 2009 that YouTube told us that they were reaching one billion views everyday – that means over the last seven months, the number of views that YouTube is getting each day has doubled, another massive billion every day on average. In some ways I’m surprised, but in many others I’m not. What you must first recognize is that two billion on average every day, fourteen billion views in a week, is a pretty outstanding number by any means. Nobody expected that this project would be as hugely successful as it is today five years ago, when YouTube was seen primarily as the online streaming equivalent of The Pirate Bay – a site which tended to host very little else than illegally uploaded video content. And, even though YouTube still battles with copyright infringement today, and I’m sure will continue to do so for the years to come, there is a great deal of valuable, comedic, entertaining, educational, informative, opinionated and amazing content from a variety of amateur film-makers, to college students uploading their projects, to directors. YouTube isn’t just a video site, it’s a huge community of people from all over the world spilling out their talent out onto a convenient platform on the web. Not only that, but YouTube also broadcasts television shows and film-maker movies with deals from major television networks, features professional content from television shows on their own official YouTube channel, and self-made shows in the Shows category.

In a different sense, this is not a surprising figure to me. We’ve seen amazing things come out of the technology industry recently – the iPhone and the iPad was a massive revolution in touch-screen technology and the iPhone has sold millions of units in countries all around the world, the App Store is home to hundreds of thousands of apps and has seen an amazing four billion apps downloaded everyday, internet memes are massive viral hits across the internet, traditional advertising in newspapers is down while internet advertising is shooting through the roof – social media and the internet is undoubtedly the world’s most prominent platform for sharing, educating, learning and for entertainment and is going to expand even further in the years to come. The numbers are incredible, but they are appearing much more frequently and are being much more common, and so I can only be delighted how successful YouTube has been so far and I’m extremely excited to see what the future turns out like. Regardless, these numbers are spectacular.

Do you use YouTube everyday? Has YouTube changed your life? How long do you spend on YouTube? Are you surprised that YouTube has been so successful? What do you think? Let the world know, in a comment.