May 21, 2012 at 11:27 AM ET
The YouTube team recently celebrated its 7th birthday, and announced an amazing statistic: 72 hours of video are uploaded to the site every minute. And if you think that's a lot, the amount of video being watched in that minute is 1,000 times greater.
Just a few weeks ago the news that YouTube was doing 60 hours per minute created a sensation on the Internet, and this increase shows how fast the site continues to grow. We got a little more detail on these numbers from Christian Kaiser, YouTube's engineering director.
The 72-hours figure is an average, of course: there are busy times and quiet periods as different time zones and regions wake up, upload video and log off. So although 72 hours per minute is a good way to sum it up, they might be processing far more than that at any given time.
And they're not flubbing the numbers, either. That 72 hour figure doesn't include the various versions that YouTube encodes — high definition, 3-D, etc. People are simply uploading three times as much video as they were two years ago.
So what accounts for this huge increase in video? It's pretty much just more use across the board, says Kaiser:
We’ve got more video coming from more people in more places, as well as bringing in thousands of full-length films and original programming to YouTube. As examples, mobile now contributes to three hours of our total upload time, and we’ve signed MGM, Paramount, Walt Disney Studios and other studios to bring thousands of movies to YouTube.
And how about viewership stats? They say that users are watching 3 billion hours of video every month. In case you're wondering, that's about 70,000 hours being watched each minute.
There's a lot of competition out there, though, and YouTube makes a big target. Facebook's own video numbers are rising meteorically as well. Smaller and more specialized sites like Vimeo and Ustream are growing quickly too, as more and better video is uploaded from DSLRs and mobile phone cameras. But with its existing popularity and Hollywood partners, YouTube probably still has a few good years left on top.
Devin Coldewey is a contributing writer for msnbc.com. His personal website is coldewey.cc.