YouTube is still the single biggest source for people seeking online video content, and has been for a long time now, despite many attempts by competitors over the years to dethrone it from the top spot. This week, Google announced the service has reached a brand new milestone. It stated that over 1 billion (yep, BILLION) hours of content are viewed on YouTube every single day.

No matter how you spin it, the fact that people all over the world are spending that much time watching videos on YouTube is a huge achievement. Indeed, Google continues to expand the reach of YouTube to more devices and platforms, as it become the number one way for people to watch any kind of video content, period. It’s also been turned into a real career for many people who create content for YouTube. Some creators now have millions or even tens of millions of channel subscribers. The rise of these low-budget online video content makers was the theme of this week’s new Samsung Galaxy S7 commercial that debuted during the Oscars telecast.

Even with that daily video viewing achievement, YouTube is still fighting potential competitors to its platform.

Even with that daily video viewing achievement, YouTube is still fighting potential competitors to its platform. That includes Twitch, the live streaming service owned by Google rival Amazon. While it has mainly focused on offering gaming-themed videos, it has recently added a new sub-channel for its creators to publish live and recorded clips on any subject, similar to YouTube’s business model. Live streaming is also becoming more popular on social networking services like Facebook and Twitter, and those platforms could also threaten YouTube’s popularity. Even paid subscription services, especially Netflix, are competing for the eyeballs of online users with more and more original, and big budget, content.

YouTube has been making new additions and improvements to meet these challenges.

Google has not been sitting on a stump while all of this has been going on. It has been making new additions and improvements to meet these challenges. In the summer of 2016, it announced that it would allow YouTube creators to live stream videos directly from their smartphones, similar to what’s available now for Facebook and Twitter. Earlier this month, Google revealed that feature was now live for any owners of a YouTube channel with more than 10,000 users, with plans to offer it for everyone else soon. It’s also making some changes to its annoying unskippable ad videos for non-subscribers of YouTube Red. It’s ditching the 30-second video ads in favor of more frequent 6-second ads.

Speaking of YouTube Red, the company’s $9.99 a month subscription service that launched in late 2015 does offer some nice features like no video ads, offline viewing and original content. However, it’s current status is still something of a question mark. Google has not released any official subscription numbers for the service, but a recent, if unconfirmed, report claims that just 1.5 million subscribers have signed onto YouTube Red. Keep in mind that low number may be due to the fact that only residents in five countries can currently access the service. If Google decides to expand YouTube Red to more countries, those numbers will almost certain go much higher.

For the moment, YouTube remains the king of the huge online video kingdom, and while that may not change anytime soon, there are certainly a lot more competitors going after its vast audience than ever before. That means Google cannot rest on that 1 billion hour daily viewing milestone for very long, and more changes and additions may need to go online to keep it ahead of its rivals.

Do you still check out YouTube videos every day, and do you think any service has a hope of getting close to its current vast audience? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

John Callaham
John was a newspaper reporter before becoming a technology and video/PC gaming writer in 2000. He lives in Greer, SC with his wife and five cats.