YouTube viewers now consume 1 billion hours of content every day

Youtube recorded a staggering statistic at the end of last year: the platform’s viewers now consume 1 billion hours of video every day, reports The Wall Street Journal — a figure that could soon surpass the number of hours people spend watching TV every day.

the Newspaper, which first published the statistic, attributes the 10-fold increase in daily watch time since 2012 to YouTube’s development of artificial intelligence to create personalized video suggestions for users. YouTube confirmed the figure in a company blog post.

YouTube’s billion hours watched daily gives it a leg up on competitors such as Facebook and netflix, which as of January 2016 totaled 100 million hours and 116 million hours of daily viewing, respectively. According to NielsenAmericans watch 1.25 billion hours of live and recorded television every day, though that figure has dropped in recent years, according to the Newspaper.

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In 2012, the Newspaper reports, YouTube has begun updating its video recommendation algorithm to value overall watch time on the platform as opposed to overall view count. Initially, the number of views dropped as viewers spent more time watching videos – although today this strategic shift seems to have paid off. Instead of only suggesting videos based on other videos that users clicked on after watching a particular video, a former YouTube staffer told the Newspaper that the company has partnered with its google brain division, which develops machine learning software, to help YouTube dig deeper into potential areas of viewer interest.

“The corpus of content continues to grow by the minute, and machine learning algorithms are doing better and better at surface content that an individual user likes,” said YouTube’s chief product officer. Neal Mohan say it Newspaper of the milestone. (Last summer at VidConYouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki says 400 hours of content are uploaded to YouTube every minute).

The last time YouTube disclosed its user base was in 2013, when it said it had 1 billion monthly users. Now the Newspaper reports, 2 billion unique users watch at least one YouTube video every 90 days.

Shirley K. Rosa