YouTube Revenue and Usage Statistics (2022)

YouTube was launched in 2005. It was founded by three PayPal employees: Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim, who ran the company from an office above a small restaurant in San Mateo.

The first video uploaded to the platform was “Me at the zoo”, featuring Karim. By the years end, YouTube was hosting over two million videos per day on its website and was averaging over 20 million daily active users.

It wouldn’t be long before Google scooped up YouTube, acquiring the startup for $1.65 billion in late 2006. What was considered at the time to be a huge reach for a startup which had shown no capability or interest in generating profit is now recognised as one of the smartest acquisitions of the past two decades.


Time magazine would include YouTube on its person of the year cover the same year. The person in question was ‘you’, specifically content creators, with the cover incorporating a mirror, rather than YouTube itself. As YouTube grew, it added more features to serve content creators, such as ratings, comments, embed functionality, livestreaming and revenue sharing.

Many celebrities have been created through YouTube, with vlogging, gaming and comedy initially being the most popular types of content. On today’s YouTube, there are hundreds of channels with millions of subscribers on almost every topic, with the highest grossing channel of 2020 actually being a kid’s toy channel called Ryan’s World.

In 2014, YouTube launched a premium service aimed at curbing the loss of revenue from ad-blocking. YouTube Red was unsuccessful in its mission, reaching less than 10 million subscribers before it relaunched as YouTube Premium. Premium, which bundles ad-free viewing with YouTube Music, hit 30 million subscribers in 2020.