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Long expected, YouTube wades into live streaming

NEW YORK – YouTube made its foray long to live broadcast launch of a pilot test with four partners in the new media.

The new platform will be shown live on a two-day test on Monday but is expected to grow substantially later in the Inc. Web site owned by Google. Four YouTube partners will include: Young Hollywood celebrity-oriented, online TV output next new networks, contacts and Rocketboom ITN, culture vlog Internet.

“This is just an initial trial, a first step,” said YouTube product manager Josh Siegel. “We’re going to look at a whole bunch of data about the performance of our new platform and then, based on that, make decisions about how we’ll open it up, with the goal of opening it up to all of our partners over time.”

For the last two years, YouTube has offered numerous events live, including a U2 concert, cricket matches in India and President Barack Obama’s first State of the Union address. But for all of those events, YouTube relied on third-party technology to enable the live webcasts.

Chris Hamilton, a product marketing manager at YouTube, said live streaming is “a natural evolution to online video” that “adds an extra level of engagement” for the site’s audience.

YouTube, though, is far from the first company to step into the streaming video space. Startups such as Ustream.tv, Justin.tv and Livestream have already established themselves.

But YouTube remains the largest video platform on the Web and is expected to quickly become a considerable force in the rapidly growing live streaming video business.

ComScore recently announced the amount of time American audiences spent watching the major live video publishers grew by 648 percent in the last year. The advertising possibilities are also good, since the average live streamed video view is 7 percent longer than the average online video view, according to ComScore.

Ustream is the current leader in live video, with 3.2 million unique viewers in July. But Google video sites, which are primarily driven by YouTube, drew 143.2 million unique visitors in July, according to ComScore.

Hamilton said YouTube will be monitoring the live trial to see how well the video looks and how well servers handle any bandwidth increases.

Among the broadcasts scheduled for Monday beginning 11 a.m. EDT is Rocketboom, which is planning an hour-long variety show, pulling from Rocketboom and its numerous spin-offs. Producer Leah D’Emilio said the site is planning a TV-like broadcast, with multiple cameras and correspondents.

She expects to live streaming still engage the YouTube community.
Anytime you can bring your viewers in a program – like making a shout-out to a person who left a comment – the audience is really excited about it on YouTube in particular, said Emilio.He breaks a sort of wall between the people on camera and people watching.

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