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'Is this real life?': How YouTube changed the life of one family

David Devore said he decided to record his son, David Jr., in 2005 when he noticed his then-7-year-old appearing loopy after a dental procedure.
Posted at 6:20 PM, Mar 26, 2024

YouTube has undergone major changes since it first launched in 2005 — it's now a multibillion-dollar platform.

Scripps News found the family behind an iconic YouTube video from 2008 to get an inside look at the business of going viral.

The video is titled "David After Dentist." David Devore said he decided to record his son, David Jr., when he noticed his then-7-year-old appeared loopy after a dental procedure. 

Devore said it wasn't his intention to go viral, rather he just wanted to share the large video file with his family. 

"So, I decided to just upload it to this thing called YouTube," he said. "By the end of Sunday, we had 10,000 views and by Wednesday we had 3 or 4 million."

The 1-minute, 58-second video now has more than 142 million views, and the Devores are cashing in off its success.

YouTube shares 55% of its ad money with video creators in its partner program, according to The New York Times

To enroll in the program, YouTube says users need at least 1,000 subscribers. Their videos must also have been watched for over 4,000 hours over the past 12 months. The Devores say when they enrolled, the money was life-changing.

"It was in the thousands a day in the beginning and then settled into thousands a month," said David Sr.

It's not just the Devores making money off of YouTube: The platform generated more than $31 billion in revenue in 2023.