Show Hide image

YouTube hits one billion monthly users

One out of every two people on the internet visits YouTube.

Google-owned video sharing website YouTube has hit a billion monthly users due to growth in internet and smartphones.

Launched in February 2005, the company provided users a service to upload and distribute video online. It was acquired by search giant Google for $1.65bn in 2006.

The company, in a statement, said: “If YouTube were a country, we’d be the third largest in the world after China and India. Nearly one out of every two people on the internet visits YouTube.”

Brian Wieser, analyst at Pivotal Research, estimates that YouTube generated $1.3bn in video advertising in 2012. Wieser told the Financial Times: “It’s possible that the more successful YouTube is [among users], the less successful it is financially. We just don’t know. Increasing users is important but what really matters is whether they are getting more advertisers and whether they are growing that faster than the capital and operating costs.”

Gangnam Style, the recent South Korean pop hit, became the first YouTube video to reach one billion views. Digital advertising market is projected to be worth $42bn in the US alone in 2013, according to research firm eMarkerer.

Social networking service Facebook also reached a billion users milestone in October 2012.

Getty Images.
Show Hide image

Is anyone prepared to solve the NHS funding crisis?

As long as the political taboo on raising taxes endures, the service will be in financial peril. 

It has long been clear that the NHS is in financial ill-health. But today's figures, conveniently delayed until after the Conservative conference, are still stunningly bad. The service ran a deficit of £930m between April and June (greater than the £820m recorded for the whole of the 2014/15 financial year) and is on course for a shortfall of at least £2bn this year - its worst position for a generation. 

Though often described as having been shielded from austerity, owing to its ring-fenced budget, the NHS is enduring the toughest spending settlement in its history. Since 1950, health spending has grown at an average annual rate of 4 per cent, but over the last parliament it rose by just 0.5 per cent. An ageing population, rising treatment costs and the social care crisis all mean that the NHS has to run merely to stand still. The Tories have pledged to provide £10bn more for the service but this still leaves £20bn of efficiency savings required. 

Speculation is now turning to whether George Osborne will provide an emergency injection of funds in the Autumn Statement on 25 November. But the long-term question is whether anyone is prepared to offer a sustainable solution to the crisis. Health experts argue that only a rise in general taxation (income tax, VAT, national insurance), patient charges or a hypothecated "health tax" will secure the future of a universal, high-quality service. But the political taboo against increasing taxes on all but the richest means no politician has ventured into this territory. Shadow health secretary Heidi Alexander has today called for the government to "find money urgently to get through the coming winter months". But the bigger question is whether, under Jeremy Corbyn, Labour is prepared to go beyond sticking-plaster solutions. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.