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YouTube soars past 4 billion daily video views

The online video site has seen its daily video viewership jump from 3 billion in May, and has its sights now set on 5 billion.

YouTube's new homepage.
YouTube's new home page.
Greg Sandoval/CNET

There's no slowing YouTube down.

Speaking to Reuters in an interview published today, YouTube announced that people around the globe now watch 4 billion videos on the site each day. In May, YouTube announced 3 billion daily video views. In 2006, that figure stood at 100 million daily videos.

But the eye-popping statistics go beyond daily video views. According to Reuters, 60 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube each minute, jumping from the 48 hours of video uploaded in May. And although most of the site's videos don't generate a dime for Google, YouTube revealed to Reuters that 3 billion videos streamed each week are monetized.

That might surprise those who have criticized YouTube's return-on-investment opportunity after Google acquired the site in 2006 for $1.65 billion. At that time, the online video site was home to a boatload of allegedly pirated content, but since YouTube didn't have any money, content creators balked at suing the firm. Once Google completed its acquisition, the search giant was hit from all sides--especially by Viacom.

But Google has found a way to make YouTube thrive despite those challenges. Part of the company's success over the years has, of course, been user-generated content. But YouTube has also incorporated professional content, including movies. A few months ago, YouTube also announced an initiative that will see the company spend up to $100 million to create original content for the site. YouTube has signed up actor Rainn Wilson and comic book writer Stan Lee to work on the content.

Last month, YouTube also showed off a new look, centered on "Channels," that's designed to surface content people want. The update also includes social-networking features to help content hit sites like Facebook and Google+ and go viral. YouTube didn't say in its Reuters interview if its new site design helped increase video views.