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Since its launch in 2005, YouTube has played a huge role in democratizing video distribution. These days, anyone can launch their own YouTube channel—and potentially become a megastar, without the help of Hollywood studios, networks, or agents. YouTube makes money by selling advertising, sharing revenue with creators who choose to monetize their videos. It also offers YouTube Red, a $9.99-a-month, ad-free subscription.

In 2015, YouTube turned its lens on 360 video and virtual reality. The Alphabet-owned platform already supports 360 degree video, which means users can click through scenes of 360 movies and even tilt their phones to explore a scene. What's more, the company has built studios across the world where top YouTube channel creators can make use of Jump capture rigs—special camera setups that allow users to create 360 degree videos. Major video platform competitors like Daily Motion and Vimeo have yet to make YouTube-size forays into the 360 degree video space, and certainly haven't cultivated a generation of Internet video stars the way YouTube has.

The question for 2016 and beyond is: Can a freshly revamped backend and increasingly effective discovery engine make binge-watching on the platform easy enough for YouTube to take on the likes of Hulu, Netflix, and HBO?

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