Six years after its launch, YouTube says it receives over 3 billion views a day, an incredible number. As Google suggests, it is equivalent to nearly half the population of the planet watching a YouTube video in single day, or every resident of the United States watching at least nine a day. YouTube is continuously ingesting video equivalent to 2,880 24-hour television channels. It works out at 236 years of video added every month. However, online video still has some way to go to displace television viewing.

Google marked six years since the launch of YouTube, saying that the number of views had passed the 3 billion mark, a 50% increase over a year. The volume of videos uploaded to the video sharing site has increased by 100% over the last year to 48 hours a minute.

Based on a previously linear growth rate, informitv had estimated that YouTube could reach 30 hours of video uploaded a minute by the end of 2010. Apparently, the rate has increased by 37% over the last six months to more than 48 hours every minute.

YouTube is ingesting video equivalent to 2,880 simultaneous television channels, or 288 ten-minute clips uploaded every minute. Assuming some long-form material but many more shorter clips, with an average duration of 3 minutes, it implies around 1.5 million videos uploaded to YouTube each day.

To put these numbers in context, PointTopic estimates that there are just over half a billion broadband subscribers worldwide, a quarter of them in China. Assuming for the sake of argument that each household equates to 3 individuals, that gives an addressable broadband population of 1.5 billion people, excluding online access outside the home.

In the United States, comScore Video Metrix reports that over 80% of the internet audience viewed online video in April 2011, generating 5.1 billion online video content views or nearly 15 hours of monthly viewing per viewer. Of these, Google sites attracted 1.9 billion viewing sessions from 142 million users, each viewing for on average 4 hours and 45 minutes a month. A year ago, comScore reported that YouTube reached more than 100 views per viewer in May 2010.

Against these numbers, while online viewing continues to grow it must be remembered that billions of hours of television are watched every day. Nielsen reports that Americans each watched an average of over 138 hours of television a month in the last quarter of 2010, ranging from 23 hours 41 minutes a week for teenagers, to 47 hours 33 minutes for those aged over 65 — a quarter of their entire week.