Last week, I posted my first video to YouTube. Like most videos that are uploaded to the site, mine was for friends, a silly inside joke wishing my friend Kim a happy birthday in a public and embarrassing manner.
But after posting the video – which was incredibly easy to do – I started wondering how many people have uploaded videos to YouTube since the site was founded in February 2005. It’s difficult to find stats about YouTube because the company (owned by Google) doesn’t often release information on its users, but this Reuters article from July 2006 claims that, when the article was written, 65,000 videos were being posted to the site per day. If that number is accurate, it’s also likely to be much higher by now. (Although another more recent article from TechCrunch estimates that the number of videos being uploaded to the site daily is between 10,000 and 65,000.)
Some more stats – Compete.com shows that the number of people visiting YouTube is 49,532,320, up 4.5% this month and 94% this year, placing the site’s audience more than double Facebook’s (24,264,850), and gaining on MySpace’s (65,210,800). And that Reuters article claims that in 2006, visitors were watching more than 100 million videos per day on YouTube – again, that figure has likely soared in the past year and a half.
From these stats, I think it’s safe to say that online video is huge – and remember these numbers are from YouTube alone. There are many other online video sites that are popular and gaining audience (Hulu comes to mind).
But all this online video watching isn’t going to happen without consequences, according to the experts. Recent and well-reported (see stories here, here, here and here) research from Nemertes Research shows that by the year 2010, there could be serious slow-downs in the Internet from all the bandwidth demands unless infrastructure is boosted to keep up. According to the report, Nemertes estimates “the financial investment required by access providers to bridge the gap between demand and capacity ranges from $42 billion to $55 billion, or roughly 60%-70% more than service providers currently plan to invest.”
The bandwidth demands on the Internet’s infrastructure are clearly rising. But the sky is not falling. Although you would think it just might be from the recent coverage that this research has sparked:
Internet Might Collapse in 2010
Internet to go down in 2010?
And my personal favorite:
Back to Soup Cans and String?
Does this remind anyone of anything, like, maybe a technology issue that was supposed to cripple business a decade ago? To me, this is really starting to sound a lot like Y2K.
Granted, the coverage will have to continue for months and the fear, uncertainty and doubt will have to rise significantly to reach Y2K levels. But in its early stages, the rumblings are the same. And I would like to suggest that we will see the same result.
The Nemertes report claims that to avert the crisis, an extra $42 billion to $55 billion needs to be invested into the infrastructure of the Internet. To put this in context, in preparation for Y2K, “the United States government spent $8.8 billion dollars on Y2K fixes. Private U.S. businesses shelled out an estimated $100 billion dollars to prepare for the bug,” according to an article by CNN.
There is money to be spent when it’s needed. And there is time to correct these issues before they cause us to revert back to soup cans and string. Even the folks sponsoring the research agree. As Internet Innovation Alliance (IIA) co-Chairman Larry Irving told USA Today:
“We’re not trying to play Paul Revere and say that the Internet’s going to fall. If we make the investments we need, then people will have the Internet experience that they want and deserve.”