Today YouTube celebrates its fifth anniversary. It’s amazing to think that what began as a simple idea at a dinner party just a few short years ago has grown into a global platform where anyone can create, share and discover the world through online video. Over time, the likes of The White House, Madonna, Amnesty International, Al Jazeera English and more have set up YouTube channels alongside those created by everyday people — including South Africans like Freshlyground and Khayav — whose videos offer a window into their lives, thoughts and talents.
So, in the spirit of the day, we’re excited to launch http://www.youtube.co.za, a South African version of YouTube and our first domain on the continent. The goal here is to give South Africans a way to easily discover local content and content producers. From now on when users in South Africa visit the site, they will see, for example, the most popular and most viewed videos in South Africa along with local content that closely matches their interests.
In conjunction with launching our South African domain, we are teaming up with South African broadcasters to ensure that YouTube users, wherever they may be, have access to some of the best locally produced content from leading local broadcasters. These include the South African Broadcasting Corporation and e.tv which have uploaded news content including content about all the soccer fever building up in South Africa!
In addition, South African journalism schools, such as Rhodes Journalism School and Wits Journalism School, are also using YouTube to showcase aspiring journalists’ talent and highlight news items that are frequently under-reported.
All in all, we are pleased to be deepening our roots in South Africa and look forward to working with South African users, partners and advertisers to make the YouTube community even bigger, even more diverse and even brighter than it is today.