Social media platforms have been all the rage for the better part of 2 decades.
Because of this, investors worldwide are wondering if they can capitalize on this growing market, looking into investment options like YouTube stock.
MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google have all been major players.
Each one has taken the social media model and turned it into a money-making endeavor, so investing in social media makes sense.
One form of social media that you may have turned your attention to is YouTube.
But can you buy YouTube stock?
If you want to know everything about YouTube stock and the way that the company changed the web forever, keep reading!
A Brief History of YouTube
The platform is well-known for its revenue made from ads, for both the platform and its users.
Before YouTube became the second most popular website in the world, receiving more than a billion monthly users each month, the company was much smaller.
It’s not sure if the creators knew how they’d be changing the online atmosphere forever, but they certainly have.
YouTube was founded in 2005 by Steve Chen, Chad Hurley, and Jawed Karim.
All three founders were early employees of PayPal and were well-versed in the profitability of the internet.
The original idea for YouTube was an online dating site and took inspiration from another popular site, Hot or Not.
However, the idea to turn YouTube into a site for online videos was at a Super Bowl party.
The three were discussing how difficult it was to share videos socially.
Here, the idea for YouTube as we know it was born.
So the company started as a venture capital-funded startup.
The two largest investors were Sequoia Capital and Artis Capital Management, providing almost $20 million in funding between the two of them.
The first video was uploaded to YouTube by founder Jawed Karim on April 23, 2005.
Within the year, the website was made available to the public, and in November of 2005, the first video had reached 1 million views.
Rapid Growth and a New Parent Company
Approximately one year after the first video on YouTube reached 1 million views, the company was purchased by Google.
Google purchased YouTube for $1.65 billion in Google stock.
Because of the company’s interest in YouTube, similar websites began to appear, like Vimeo and IAC.
The popularity of the website began to ripple throughout the internet, and YouTube’s growth was astonishing.
By 2007, it was reported that the website alone needed the bandwidth equal to the rest of the internet.
By 2011, more than 1 billion videos were being watched every single day.
What’s more, the website began to see massive spikes in uploaded content by 2013.
In 2013, data was published which showed that nearly 100 hours of content was uploaded to YouTube every minute.
The same data, less than a year later, then reported that the amount had tripled to 300 hours.
Google invested in what would become one of the most profitable websites to exist.
Finding More Ways to Make Money
As most people know, YouTube generates most of its income through advertising partners.
Content creators on the platform allow ads to be placed throughout their videos and receive a percentage of the money paid in exchange.
Starting in 2013, however, YouTube started looking for new ways to make money on the platform.
To increase profits through different income streams, YouTube started a premium subscription-based version of its services.
Certain videos would only be available through the premium subscription, and users could pay a small fee to unlock access to these videos.
However, Youtube halted the service in early 2018 and then relaunched it about halfway through the year.
The channel subscriptions began to include features not available through the free service.
One of these features was the Super Chat, which allowed users to pay a fee to have their comments highlighted.
The company didn’t stop there, though.
YouTube introduced YouTube Red, a version of the platform that allowed users to pay a monthly fee to enjoy YouTube without ads, which gave access to even more exclusive content.
The company unrolled this new feature to better compete with other streaming services, such as Netflix and Hulu.
Youtube Stock: Controversies Surrounding YouTube
As with all companies, YouTube is not without its controversies.
In 2018, YouTube was accused of violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).
The company was fined $170 million for collecting information from minors under the age of 13.
Following the fines, YouTube treated all videos uploaded as “made for kids”, so it could avoid liability under the COPPA act.
In 2021, the company launched a new supervised mode for tweens.
As people were forced to stay at home throughout the pandemic, YouTube came under fire for taking up too much bandwidth.
The EU required that YouTube reduce its bandwidth to make room for other internet traffic and activity due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
YouTube agreed to and announced that it would continue to do so worldwide.
Another controversy worth mentioning is that the platform continues to receive criticisms from content creators for its copyright strike system.
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Can I Buy YouTube Stock?
At this time, you cannot purchase YouTube stock.
The company has not announced an initial public offering (IPO) for its stock, and there is no sign that this will change anytime soon.
Until an IPO occurs, YouTube shares will not be available for purchase on the stock market.
Who Owns YouTube?
Alphabet is the owner of Google and many of Google’s subsidiaries, such as YouTube.
In 2015, Google restructured and created the parent company, Alphabet, as a result.
The reasoning behind the restructure and the introduction of Alphabet was to make Google (and the other companies it owns) cleaner and more accountable.
Can I Buy YouTube Stock: YouTube Stock Symbol
At this time, YouTube does not have a stock symbol, also known as a ticker.
Until YouTube announces an IPO, the company will not have a stock symbol.
If an IPO ever occurs, you can be sure that the stock will be fairly high priced, and price-per share will be similar to its parent company, Google.
Why Is YouTube so Successful?
YouTube has seen massive success due to its ability to market itself as a network for creators.
The streaming platform allowed content creators to craft and produce their own content and videos for others.
By doing so, the company no longer had to stick to the industry standards that television and cable have.
Creators can make whatever content they want (within the platform’s standards), have fun doing it, and then show the world what they have made.
Another factor to YouTube’s success was becoming one of the first mainstream video-sharing platforms in the industry’s infancy.
Before competition could emerge, YouTube entered the market and quickly grew in popularity by giving creators a platform to share videos and their passions — something that was much more difficult in the past.
The last part of YouTube’s success comes from its method of making money.
YouTube charges other companies to advertise on the platform.
While YouTube takes most of the cut, it does pay some of that advertising money to its creators.
This method of revenue generation and talent acquisition helps YouTube increase its already massive profits and securely places the company as a giant in the social media market.
Can I Buy YouTube Stock on the Stock Market?
At this time, there is no stock price for YouTube stock, and that’s because its stock isn’t public.
Until the company has an initial public offering, there will be no way to invest in YouTube directly.
However, if you want to invest in its parent company Google, you are welcome to.
Keep reading to find out about your investment options if you’re looking for a YouTube alternative.
YouTube Competitors to Invest In
If you want an alternative to YouTube on the stock market, take a look at some of its competitors as well as its parent company, for investment options.
Alphabet, Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL or GOOG)
While investing in Alphabet, or Google, isn’t the cheapest option, it’s the best way to invest in the company.
Alphabet has a stronghold on the market and seemingly has its hands in a bit of everything.
Google is one of the most popular websites in the world and shows no sign of slowing down its growth.
While Google Plus didn’t pan out to be as successful as the company may have wanted it to, Google didn’t stay out of the social media game for long.
The purchase and direction of YouTube as a social media platform of its own shows that the company knows what it is doing.
If you want to invest in YouTube specifically, investing in Google and Alphabet is as close as you can get.
Currently, Alphabet stock can be traded at $2,800 per share.
Vimeo, Inc. (NASDAQ: VMEO)
If you want to invest in YouTube’s direct competitor, Vimeo is your best bet.
Vimeo was one of the first responses to YouTube and is another one of the largest video-sharing platforms available on the internet.
Vimeo’s initial strategy to compete against YouTube was by supporting the creators that YouTube didn’t.
Some of the most popular content creators from the late 2000s were exclusively available on Vimeo’s platform, such as CollegeHumor.
In fact, CollegeHumor has been credited with Vimeo’s original growth period in its early years from 2004 to 2009.
However, because YouTube has taken over the online video sharing portion of the internet, Vimeo has switched gears from its initial business model.
The company began to transition from solely a hosting website to a software as a service (SaaS) website.
Vimeo provided online video creation toolsets to its users and put most of its efforts toward supporting its content creators once again.
Where YouTube focuses on its users, Vimeo focuses on its creators.
Currently, Vimeo stock can be traded at around $35 per share.
Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX)
While Netflix and YouTube weren’t originally competitors, they could easily be considered as such today.
Netflix is one of the most popular video streaming services available, solely focusing on television and movies rather than user-made projects.
Of course, Netflix has begun to produce its own shows and entertainment as well.
As YouTube began to see Netflix rise, the company looked to emulate the service.
You can see the influence of Netflix on YouTube in many ways.
Had Netflix not risen to the top of streaming entertainment, it’s unlikely that YouTube would have begun to produce series and videos using YouTube Red.
Most of YouTube’s subscription-based content is treated much like traditionally produced television entertainment, the way Netflix series are.
Without Netflix’s rise to power, we wouldn’t have shows produced by content creators and YouTube themselves.
Currently, Vimeo stock can be traded at around $551 per share.
Can You Buy YouTube Stock: Final Thoughts
With most media being consumed by digital means, it was only a matter of time until a website like YouTube came along.
At the time, YouTube was one of the pioneers of digital media consumption.
The entire reason behind the company was to create a way to share videos more easily with people, no matter where you were.
As YouTube began to rise, it paved the way for other companies, like Vimeo.
In its own way, YouTube also inspired Netflix, the largest digital streaming service in the world.
At this time, YouTube stock is not available for purchase directly.
The company is privately traded and has not announced an initial public offering as of this date.
If investing in YouTube is something that you have your mindset on, its parent company, Alphabet, can be invested in.
But if you’re looking for a competitor to invest in, however, you can invest in YouTube’s direct competitor, Vimeo.
If you simply want to invest in a streaming giant, Netflix is available as well.