YouTube was originally intended as a platform on which users can post original content thought to be interesting, funny or worth for other reasons, the website has since grown to become a powerful money-making tool. With almost 1.5 billion users worldwide, the company can count on a lot of eyeballs for monetizing its advertising content. This figure is projected to grow to 1.86 billion global YouTube users in 2021.
YouTube content is currently free to view, although it sometimes underlies regional restrictions for reasons such as of copyright. In a 2017 survey, 73 percent of respondents stated that they will be willing to pay at least 5 U.S. dollar per month for access to YouTube. In another survey, it was found that over 90 percent of the U.S. population had ever used YouTube to watch music videos or listen to music and more than half of mobile users in the United States claimed to watch videos on YouTube daily or several times each day. The rise in smartphones and other mobile devices usage has also helped increase the consumption of YouTube videos on the go. YouTube also ranks as the most popular mobile apps in both Google Play and the Apple App Store worldwide. The platform's standalone mobile appYouTube Music ranked among the most downloaded mobile entertainment apps worldwide.
While companies, musicians or film distributors might use YouTube as a form of free direct advertisement, many producers of different products also operate overt or hidden product placement schemes using YouTube. The most popular YouTube brand channel based on number of views was LEGO as of October 2017. YouTube generates the majority of its revenues through in-site advertising through owners of popular or YouTube partner channels eligible to receive a percentage of the revenue they helped create. YouTube is not only valuable as an advertising platform but is also one of the most relevant referral traffic generators online.
As of December 2017, the most viewed YouTube channel on the online video platform belonged to Indian music label T-Series, with around than 1.5 billion views in the preceding month. The most popular YouTube channel when ranked by number of subscribers belongs PewDiePie. The Swedish web-based comedian and video game commentator generated over 930,000 U.S. dollars in annual revenue from his YouTube channel in 2016. As of February 2018, the most popular YouTube video based on total global views was the music video for Luis Fonsi, featuring Daddy Yankee, called Despacito.