YouTube breaks records with 1 billion monthly users

If the video hosting service were a country, it would be the third largest in the world after China and India.

Dara Kerr Former senior reporter
Dara Kerr was a senior reporter for CNET covering the on-demand economy and tech culture. She grew up in Colorado, went to school in New York City and can never remember how to pronounce gif.
Dara Kerr
2 min read

What does 1 billion monthly YouTube users signify? It means that nearly one out of every two people on the Internet worldwide goes to YouTube.

That's a serious amount of people.

Google's video hosting service announced today that for the first time, it's driving these colossal numbers -- more than a billion unique users on the site, every month.

"If YouTube were a country, we'd be the third largest in the world after China and India," YouTube wrote in a blog post today. "Our monthly viewership is the equivalent of roughly 10 Super Bowl audiences."

Not bad for a company that's just eight years old. It's not only viewers who are prodigiously using the service, but content creators are also creating videos at a growing rate. According to YouTube, thousands of channels have been created and every single one of the Ad Age top 100 brands have run advertising campaigns on the site.

While Google hadn't released YouTube's latest unique visitor numbers in January, it did say that people were watching a total of 4 billion hours of YouTube per month. What exactly are they watching besides ads and goofy cat videos? Psy's "Gangnam Style" music video definitely hit the charts. In December, Google announced that the wildly popular video was the first clip to ever surge past 1 billion views. And, in March, kids' show "Sesame Street" announced that it topped 1 billion YouTube views.

A lot of what's powering this growth is the new generation of multiscreen viewers, or what market research firm Nielsen calls "Generation C." According to new numbers by the firm, the number of Generation C viewers who watch YouTube on their smartphones is now equal to those who tune in on their PCs.

"The way people consume content is changing. For the first time, an entire generation has grown up watching content on their own terms," Google's advertising research director Gunnard Johnson wrote in a blog post today. "This generation is defined by the Internet, mobile, and social -- consuming content when and where they want."

Infographic showing how Generation C watches YouTube on several devices. Google