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Three-year Trends in YouTube Video Content and Encoding
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Three-year Trends in YouTube Video Content and Encoding


Feng Li, Jae Won Chung, and Mark Claypool

In Proceedings the 18th International Conference on Signal Processing and Multimedia Applications
Virtual Conference
July 6-8, 2021


Despite the dominance of YouTube streaming traffic, there have been few studies focusing on characterizing YouTube videos over time. Given the sheer volume of YouTube videos, we created a custom crawler which took snapshots of popular YouTube channels and ran the crawler daily for the past 3 years. This provides YouTube video trends from 2018-2020 for over 160k videos, considering media type, duration, bit rate, resolution, codec, encoding format, and popularity. Analysis of the data shows YouTube videos have increased frame rates, resolutions and durations over this time, with the biggest clips consuming over 200 Mb/s and being over 3 hours long, accompanied by corresponding changes in encoding rates and codecs. Our analysis and the resulting dataset we make public should be beneficial for traffic shaping or CDN deployment strategies.


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