YouTube has announced that 2016 marked the year that users managed to watch a billion hours of content per day. In a blog post which did not detail where the hours were spent, or who was watching, YouTube said the number “represents the enjoyment of the fantastically diverse videos” hosted by the site.
YouTube, founded in 2005 and bought for more than €1 billion by Google in 2006, now has over a billion users worldwide. It is also now operating in 76 languages, and has 88 dedicated country versions.
So what does this mean? How many minutes or hours are users spending on YouTube each day?
In 2015, TechCrunch reported that watch time was growing exponentially, and a mobile YouTube average session was over 40 minutes in length. With growth continuing since, and YouTube now outstripping the giants of cable network television in the US, it isn’t hard to see how more than a billion users could generate over a billion hours of viewing per day, especially with the amount of time people spend reading books and newspapers dropping significantly.
To put this in context, one billion hours works out to approximately 110,000 years.
Around 100,000 years ago Homo Sapiens were moving from Africa to populate the rest of the world.
And over the next 100,000 years, humanity and the universe could change hugely. Artist Nickolay Lamm and Dr Alan Kwan of Washington University think humans may even look drastically different by the year 102,007.
By that time much of the nuclear waste produced today may be safe, and the town of Bure in eastern France might be very relieved indeed. The town, equidistant between Troyes and Nancy, is home to a kilometre-deep, €25 billion nuclear waste storage facility.
The humans alive in 100,000 years will be benefiting from the light being produced by the sun today. That’s because NASA estimates that it takes light photons between 10,000 and 170,000 years to escape the sun after they are born from nuclear reactions deep inside our solar system’s star. Once the particles manage to collide with another particle which propels them out of the sun and towards Earth, it takes them only eight minutes to make the journey, but each will collide with well over a million other particles before making that lucky strike.
And if you’re looking for ways to spend a spare billion hours, one could spend the next 100,000 years listening to Kiss sing 100,000 Years, from their 1974 eponymous debut album. At 3 minutes 25 seconds, one could listen to the album version at least 18 billion times in that time. But one might want some variation over such a long listening time, and luckily YouTube have several versions recorded at live concerts. With an extended drum solo, this 1975 recording lasts nearly ten minutes. That added length means anyone with another billion hours on hand could watch it 6 billion times.