Home » History of YouTube – Journey From 2005-2024

History of YouTube – Journey From 2005-2024

Year Founded2005
Founders Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, Jawed Karim
Industry Internet, Video Hosting Service
HeadquartersSan Bruno, California (United States)
CEO Neal Mohan
Vice President of EngineeringScott Silver 
Executive Lilly Ryder
Notable Products YouTube Premium, YouTube Music, YouTube TV, YouTube Kids

YouTube! Who doesn’t know YouTube? It’s one of the most used apps across the world. Owned by Google, YouTube has more than 2.49 billion active monthly users. It’s the giants of the video streaming world.

You know what YouTube is today, but do you have any idea how it became the giant it is today? YouTube became available to the general public on 14th February 2005, but it wasn’t the video streaming platform as you know it today. Owned by Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim, YouTube was originally meant to be a dating platform. 

Before YouTube (the video streaming service as we know it today), Realplayer, Windows Media Player, Google Video, and ShareYourWorld were the available video streaming platforms. 

The reason why none of these platforms were able to leave a mark, is they were too complicated. Before a user could upload a video, they had to jump through a number of hoops. Moreover, all these platforms were costly for users. After the dating app idea went kaput, the founders of YouTube wanted to create an easy way for people to upload and share videos worldwide. 

Some innovations, ideas, and creativity later, YouTube was born. The three founders began their work in Mellon Park, California, with the hope of creating a platform that would make video sharing and streaming easier. 

When YouTube first appeared. It didn’t get the traffic the founders hoped it would. Why? Well, because people had no awareness of what YouTube was.

Fun Fact, the first ever video uploaded on YouTube was titled “Met at the Zoo”. It was published by one of the founder Jawed Karim on April 23, 2005. While the video didn’t get much attention in the beginning, currently the video has more than 225 million views.

How YouTube Came to Be

At a dinner party one evening, the three YouTube founders Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim were present. Hurley and Chen were taking pictures and videos of one another. There were many places where they could upload photos, but there was no real way to share videos. 

It was simple to share photos online before YouTube existed. Videos? Not really. This is where the concept for YouTube was first conceived. The three friends wanted to create a platform for sharing videos that would allow users to upload any kind of video. 

The founders all had coding and website-building skills because they were all members of the “PayPal Mafia”. Making the initial YouTube website wasn’t difficult for them. As a matter of fact, it was the simplistic design that made the website so famous among users. 

However, the initial concept for YouTube was not what it is today. On Valentine’s Day, 2005, YouTube launched as a dating service. The idea was for women to upload videos in order to find potential partners. The idea eventually failed and died out because it wasn’t the right time. 

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Following their planning, they also began with the idea that users wouldn’t require any other software or hardware in order to run it. Users had to download special software to upload or view videos in it because they did not want that. They just wanted to make it an independent platform. They added a quick search feature to find the videos on it.

After all, the team moved to an office located above a pizzeria and a Japanese restaurant in San Mateo, California, to improve the platform. On April 23, 2005, they posted the first video there, titled “Me And The Zoo”. They wanted to know the response from the people. 

They made additional improvements after watching and studying this video. After six months of uploading the first video, they officially launched YouTube in November 2005. In the same month, YouTube got a funding of $11.5 million

In 2006, YouTube created a spark around the world, mainly in the United States. YouTube announced that around 65,000 videos were uploaded daily and over 100 million hours of content were streamed every day. Google loved what the platform was doing and bought YouTube for $1.65 billion. 

They introduced a new feature with YouTube, which was its video ads on the site. After some trial and testing, YouTube finally accepted pre-roll ads in August 2007. 

During the initial days, YouTube developers kept improving the platform. Soon, YouTube became the dominant online video-uploading, sharing, and viewing site around the world.

YouTube: Through The Decades (2005- 2021)

Decade 1 (2005-2024)

When YouTube was created and introduced to the world on 14 February 2005, it didn’t get the right attention. They posted their first video on April 23, 2005, in which Jawed Karim was at the San Diego Zoo. 

During this period, several companies got in touch with the founders for partnership and funding opportunities. YouTube’s first investor was Sequoia Capital Firm, which invested $3.5 million.

YouTube was breaking records left and right. In April 2006, YouTube got another funding of $8 million from Sequoia and Artis Capital management. YouTube spent the amount on building their platform, enhancing their offering. YouTube was breaking all previous video streaming records. Every day, thousands of people sign up on the platform.

In February 2006, YouTube rolled out adverts on the site, and the first advert was Prison Break by the Fox Show. Ads were a good idea for the platform as it allowed YouTube to generate revenue. In the same year, Google bought YouTube on November 13. 

YouTube wanted to improve the technical side of the platform and partnered with Verizon Wireless in July 2007. People were able to upload their videos very quickly through Multimedia Messaging Services (MMS). 

Later on, YouTube introduced the partner program and allowed creators to earn money from the ads and be paid. In April 2009, it came with the HTML5 video player experiments, and in June 2009, YouTube XL was created.

In 2011, YouTube was integrated with Google+ (Google’s attempt at building a social networking platform). During this partnership, users were automatically redirected to YouTube whenever they clicked on any YouTube links on Chrome browser. 

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On December 21st, 2012, one of the YouTube videos named Gangnam Style achieved 1 billion views and became a record-breaking achievement. In February 2015, YouTube created the “YouTube Kids” where content will only be available for kids.

Decade 2 (2015 – Present Day)

At the start of decade 2, YouTube started to add more new features and tried to make it easier. One of the new features that were added by YouTube at the start of 2015 was the 360-degree video feature. In April 201, YouTube came with the live streaming feature.

In November 2016, YouTube launched two special features that were ‘Heart’ and ‘Pin’ features which allowed the channel owners to pin and give heart to the comments of their videos.

In July 2021, all unlisted videos on YouTube accounts were removed. The removed videos are no longer available on any platform. In 2022 YouTube added more features like Collaborative Live Streaming and Creating Experiences in the Metaverse

Today, YouTube is still breaking streaming records, making changes to its UI, and trying to maintain its position as the global video streaming giant.

What Are The Most Important Inventions of YouTube?

  1. Video Sharing Platform

Needless to say today YouTube is one of the giants for video sharing. It is really a reliable and convenient platform to share your video. Including short and long videos. Every hour over 500 hours of video content is uploaded to YouTube every MINUTE! 

YouTube has become the go-to platform for people to share their video content effortlessly with the world.

  1. Monetization

Monetization means earning revenue from YouTube videos. Thousands of people are earning money by uploading videos on YouTube. You can make money on YouTube with these monetization methods: 

  • Advertising Revenue: Advertising revenue means earning revenue from ads that are run before, in the middle, or at the end of your video. 
  • Channel Memberships: YouTube also rolled out a monthly subscription-earning model for creators. If you’re a creator, your fans can subscribe to your channel for a small monthly fee. On the membership, viewers gain benefits like early access to videos, member-only content, merchandise, special offers, and more.
  • Shopping: Your fans can browse and buy products, like merch, from your store on YouTube.
  • Super Chat & Super Stickers: Super Chat and Super Stickers are great ways by which fans can connect with creators during live streaming. So viewers can purchase Super Chats to highlight their message within a live chat.
  • Super Thanks: Super Thanks message is a way for a viewer to get their comment featured in the comment section. Whatever amount a user pays for a Super Chat, Super Thanks, or Super sticker is split between the content creators, and YouTube itself.

How Does YouTube Make Money?

YouTube makes money from six different revenue streams. These are:

  1. Advertisements, 
  2. YouTube Premium, 
  3. Channel memberships, 
  4. Superchat donations, 
  5. YouTube TV, and 
  6. Merchandise commissions.

1. Advertisements

Advertising is YouTube’s primary revenue stream and generated $28.8 billion for the company in 2021. Over the years, YouTube’s ad revenue has been rising steadily. An increase in users and improvements to their ad delivery formats are the main drivers of this growth.

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Currently, YouTube offers five kinds of ads:

  • Skippable In-Stream Ads: These ads either play before or during the video. After 5 seconds, the user is given the option to skip the advertisement. Such advertisements can be used to increase website traffic or generate leads.
  • Non-Skippable In-Stream Ads: It is a 15-second ad. Non-skippable advertisements are excellent for building brand recognition and reaching a broad audience.
  • In-Feed Video Ads: In-feed ads don’t appear within videos. Instead, they show up on the homepage of YouTube’s mobile app or next to search results for relevant videos within a browser. In addition, they might show up alongside video recommendations in the user’s feed.
  • Bumper Ads: The non-skippable in-stream ads are condensed into bumper ads, which are used to quickly and effectively convey a message. They can show up before a video, during a video, or following another video.
  • Masthead Ads: Masthead advertisements are widescreen compatible and appear at the top of the homepage. These are short (30 seconds or less) videos that by default are muted. Clicking on them will direct users to a full version of the advertisement.

Note: YouTube shares ad revenue with its content creators that meet YouTube’s guidelines. In general, YouTube receives 45% of the revenue and creators receive 55%. According to a click-per-mille (CPM) system, payments are computed. This indicates that the advertiser pays a specific sum based on every 1,000 views.

2. YouTube Premium

It’s YouTube’s own subscription-based streaming service. YouTube Premium allows users to stream ad-free content, watch YouTube originals, background play, and more. 

With the YouTube Premium subscription, YouTube Music is an add-on. As soon as a YouTube Originals series is released, premium members can watch it without charge. 

3. Channel Memberships

Motivated by Twitch’s subscription model, YouTube came up with the Channel Membership program. When users buy membership of their favorite creator, they are supporting their preferred content producers by paying them a small fee every month. 

In return, they get exclusive benefits available only to members, like badges and emojis, early access to videos, members-only videos, discounts on merch, exclusive discounts, and more. 

4. Superchat Donations

It’s a fantastic way for viewers to communicate directly with their favourite content creators while also receiving a shoutout. 

The donor is also highlighted during the live stream when they donate a Superchats. For a while, their message or donation amount is highlighted at the top of the chat window.

5. YouTube TV

This is a premium subscription Live TV streaming service that’s currently only available in the US. 

YouTube TV has more than 85 channels that include news, sports, entertainment, and more. Users are not required to have a set-top box to use YouTube TV on their TVs. The plan includes unlimited storage across six different accounts.

6. Merchandise Commissions

To sell their exclusive merchandise, YouTube content creators frequently work with third-party websites like Teespring or Shopify.

Content creators add a link to their websites under their channel description. Whenever a user clicks on the link to buy the content creator’s merch, YouTube earns a small commission. 


In the years since its founding in 2005, YouTube has been constantly revolutionizing the video streaming industry. The platform has developed into a whole industry with its own set of constantly evolving rules from a simple video-sharing website.