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The Evolution of UK YouTube

The evolution of YouTube in the UK has grown at a rapid rate. YouTube was founded on Feb. 14, 2005, by Steve Chen, Chad Hurley, and Jawed Karim in California, USA and has become one of the most popular social media sites in the world. It started as a platform to share videos and now consists of much more, including YouTube Shorts and live streaming, as well as being able to reach people worldwide.

Google purchased YouTube for $1.65 billion in stock in November 2006, an essential move for Google as it wanted to get started in video sharing and with YouTube thriving, they couldn’t accomplish this on their own.

2008 saw the start of YouTube content creators being paid for their videos and so the UK gave us the originals of YouTube influencers.

These included Zoella who started sharing videos in 2019, now known by her full name Zoe Sugg, who currently has 4.92 million subscribers. Alfie Deyes who also started in 2019 now has 3.64 million subscribers, Mark Ferris who joined in 2010 sits at 660K subscribers, and Jim Chapman who started posting videos in 2010 now has a subscriber count of 2.09 million. 

In 2011, YouTube started live streaming so creators could post and communicate in real-time with their audience. This has become increasingly popular, especially during the pandemic in 2019 when people couldn’t attend events and workshops. Since the pandemic, there has been a constant “need” to be entertained and for more content. In the UK YouTube has brought millions of users the opportunity to watch videos for free without leaving the comfort of their own homes. 

The average UK YouTube viewer is aged between 25 and 44 (44% of the UK) and 18-24  (24%). 88% of the UK will watch YouTube videos on a regular weekly basis according to Cyber Crew and another figure of 73% tells us adults in the UK use YouTube via the app on their smartphones (Don’t Disappoint Me). The YouTube app was launched in 2007 for Android and iOS (Apple) users.

In June 2018, YouTube premium launched, allowing users to download their videos for offline use and watch longer videos without adverts. This is a paid subscription service and prices now start at £11.99 per month. 

YouTube in the UK is constantly growing and evolving. Social Films found that YouTube reached an average of 35.6 million users in the UK in 2019 and the stats from Don’t Disappoint Me show that 97% of adult internet users watch YouTube content. With over 100,000 influencers in the UK, this percentage isn’t surprising. 

The evolution of YouTube from the first video to ever be posted (by one of the founders, Jawed Karim in 2005) to now (2022) is immense. Viewers in the UK, according to Take Note, watched 168 billion YouTube videos in 2019. Limelight Digital shared that in 2021 there were over 50 million people from the UK watching content that year on YouTube compared to 37.1 million in 2018. 

Looking to incorporate YouTube into your marketing campaigns? Get in touch today and our team will put together a bespoke YouTube strategy.