Last year it was estimated that around 14.3 billion online videos were watched online in the U.S. alone. YouTube has been an important part of this growth, with around 41% of those videos being watched on the Google-owned site. For the last month of 2008, YouTube alone recorded around 5.9 billion views. To put that into perspective, their largest competitor, Fox Interactive Media, had only around 445 million and the often praised Hulu had some 241 million views. That's a worldwide perspective, which demonstrates just how wide the YouTube appeal is, though we should also note that “premium content” sites like Hulu often restrict their videos to certain regions.
Google's issue with YouTube certainly isn't popularity – there's no shortage of content for it and no lack of users. The issue is making all that bandwidth consumed turn a profit, which is something they've been battling with for several years now. They're trying several avenues to little avail, including full length movies, made-for-YouTube productions and advertising. Will more user growth help it turn a profit or just make it harder?