A few minutes of short-form video here and there can really add up – YouTube’s average video length may be quite constrained, but in aggregate, viewers are watching a billion hours of its clips per day. That’s around 8.4 minutes per day per human, according to some very napkin calculations.
Put in perspective like that, it’s easy to see how we’ve come to this: For superusers, getting sucked into hours-long keyholes of YouTube viewing is not at all uncommon. And for everyone else, a few minutes here or there makes total sense, because someone sent you a link or shared something on Facebook, or just because you heard about the latest awards show mishap and wanted to catch up on what everyone was talking about.
Google points out that an individual attempting to rack up 1 billion hours of YouTube watching would have to find a playlist that was 100,000 years long – but as you can see above, broken up among the members of an increasingly connected global human society, it’s a lot easier to see how we got to where we are today. Regardless, it’s a huge number, and one that reflects YouTube’s ascent to a primary media distribution platform that others who want a piece of the video pie, including Facebook, will have to work hard to edge out.