YouTube Gets Into the Live Streaming Game

http://gigaom.com/video/youtube-live/

YouTube Gets Into the Live Streaming Game

By Ryan Lawler Apr. 8, 2011, 9:21am

After months of testing and tweaking, YouTube announced Friday that it’s rolling out a new live streaming platform for its video partners. With the launch of the new service, which can be viewed at youtube.com/live, YouTube will finally be going up against Ustream, Justin.tv and Livestream, seeking to become the king of live events on the web.

But unlike those services, the live streaming service won’t be available to all; only “approved partners” will have access to the live streaming platform at launch. But who are those partners and how will future live streaming partners be picked? A YouTube spokesperson writes:

“Given our scale of 2 billion views a day, it’s important that we roll this out incrementally over time. Initially, we will be rolling this out to approved partners who are in good standing in regards to our community guidelines. This ranges from partners who have built large audiences over time through their own unique content to premium partners. Our hope is to gradually roll the platform out to thousands of partners over the coming months.”

YouTube has taken advantage of live streaming in the past to deliver feeds of live events, like concerts and sporting events, to its massive audience of viewers. But most of those events were delivered over a partner CDN’s infrastructure. The new live streaming platform was built from the ground up and runs on YouTube’s own infrastructure.

YouTube’s first test of that infrastructure was launched last September, but its alpha run was pretty disastrous, causing YouTube to scale back its live ambitions a bit. In the months since, YouTube has been quietly testing a beta of the live streaming program with approved partners like Revision3.

My Take:

I’m pretty interested to see how this will turn out. I think it is a great opportunity for YouTube to expand its business seeing how thousands of people are streaming live video on Ustreams a day. It is smart for them to be releasing access to this new feature by distributing it to those who are premium members and those who have built up a large audience. Doing this will help YouTube learn how to distribute the flow of users and control it without any huge shortages or video buffering. It is a great idea in this sense, yet I can see how people will see this opportunity and be dissappointed when they learn that they will have to wait or even pay for this new service.

For a few years now I have been wanting to watch concerts of my favorite bands and artists live and sporting events, such as the Super Bowl, live. I imagine that there is a huge demand for this and with YouTube striving to meet this need, the online world is going to change for the better. If I have to end up paying for it, so be it. Businesses that mostly function through their website deserve to earn money from places other than their advertising. I am hoping that YouTube will be a competitive supplier, this will be a driving force that will push online videos to find something bigger and better.

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