Today, at 8am PST (11am EST), YouTube will begin testing their very own live streaming video platform. The test will be conducted today and tomorrow on a limited trial basis in conjunction with four of YouTube’s partners: Howcast, Next New Networks, Rocketboom and Young Hollywood. This move could put YouTube in direct competition with Ustream, Justin.tv, Vokle, Livestream, and others.
YouTube has already done live video in the past: “From U2 to the Indian Premier League to the White House to E3, we’ve worked closely with our partners to give you a front row seat to a wide array of live events.” What makes this move different is direct integration into YouTube channels and working directly with a broader range of partners.
Should the current champions of streaming video be worried? That remains to be seen. YouTube seems to be taking things slow and steady at this point. While I’m sure they have the infrastructure to support live streaming video for a large number of users, it will still take time to roll something like that out. It’s also unclear if that’s even the goal. Ultimately, Google+YouTube is looking to make a profit. While I doubt they could see much return on the average person doing a live show, they might be able to squeeze a few dollars out of someone in their partner program. These partners are usually more polished and already have a following.
The testing phase includes a “Live Comments” module, which will allow broadcaster and the broader YouTube community to communicate in realtime. This initial test will run today and tomorrow and, based on their results, they will “evaluate rolling out the platform more broadly to our partners worldwide.” There goes that word “partners” again. Even if this thing goes live on a larger scale, it looks like it will still be on a limited basis. It’s not impossible to become a partner, but there are some basic criteria you must meet:
You can only watch the live streaming trial on YouTube’s website, no embedding available yet. Check the schedule below for programming details.