Photo: Arcade Fire VEVO
YouTube has been looking at buying more original programming as a way to keep people at the site longer.But a lot of the most popular TV shows aren’t prerecorded — look at live sports or big news events.
YouTube recognises this. That’s why the Google-owned video service introduced a new live video platform today.
YouTube Live looks lame right now — it’s just a few obscure programs. But the company is also rolling out a beta platform that will extend live broadcasts to thousands of partners in the months ahead.
If the beta works out, this could become a standard part of the YouTube platform for everybody to use.
But YouTube is different. Everybody knows the name. It’s got a huge built-in userbase, with nearly 3x the users and 6x the number of views (at least in the U.S.) than the number-two competitor. It runs on Google’s world-class infrastructure.
Think about people broadcasting:
- Concerts and performances at small venues.
- Community sporting events like high school football or basketball games.
- Pranks, stunts, tricks — like Jackass in real time.
- Live news coverage.
- Local politics.
None of those events will draw a huge audience. But aggregate thousands of these broadcasts, and it has the potential to be as disruptive to TV as blogging has been to newspapers.
Plus, there will be occasional sleeper hits — before YouTube took off in 2006, nobody could have imagined that a video of a kid returning from the dentist would get 86 million views.
If YouTube is smart, it will seed the channel by signing some big deals — like it’s done in the past with one-off concerts and sporting events. Then, it will gradually roll out the tools to everybody.
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