YouTube is an American online video-sharing platform headquartered in San Bruno, California. The service, created in February 2005 by three former PayPal employees—Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim—was bought by Google in November 2006 for US$1.65 billion and now operates as one of the company’s subsidiaries. YouTube is the second most-visited website after Google Search, according to Alexa Internet rankings.
YouTube allows users to upload, view, rate, share, add to playlists, report, comment on videos, and subscribe to other users. Available content includes video clips, TV show clips, music videos, short and documentary films, audio recordings, movie trailers, live streams, video blogging, short original videos, and educational videos. Most content is generated and uploaded by individuals, but media corporations including CBS, the BBC, Vevo, and Hulu offer some of their material via YouTube as part of the YouTube partnership program. Unregistered users can watch, but not upload, videos on the site, while registered users can upload an unlimited number of videos and add comments. Age-restricted videos are available only to registered users affirming themselves to be at least 18 years old.
As of May 2019, there were more than 500 hours of content uploaded to YouTube each minute and one billion hours of content being watched on YouTube every day. YouTube and selected creators earn advertising revenue from Google AdSense, a program that targets ads according to site content and audience. The vast majority of videos are free to view, but there are exceptions, including subscription-based premium channels, film rentals, as well as YouTube Music and YouTube Premium, subscription services respectively offering premium and ad-free music streaming, and ad-free access to all content, including exclusive content commissioned from notable personalities. Based on reported quarterly advertising revenue, YouTube is estimated to have US$15 billion in annual revenues.
YouTube has faced criticism over aspects of its operations, including its handling of copyrighted content contained within uploaded videos, its recommendation algorithms perpetuating videos that promote conspiracy theories and falsehoods, hosting videos ostensibly targeting children but containing violent or sexually suggestive content involving popular characters, videos of minors attracting pedophilic activities in their comment sections, and fluctuating policies on the types of content that is eligible to be monetized with advertising.