Who Needs Cable? YouTube Live is Coming.

Category: SaaS Management

It seems to be the next step in YouTube’s stride to take over the electronic world, this so-called “live video streaming.” September 13th, 2010 marked their second, yes second, attempt at creating the online beast. This means they’re certainly working hard to get it right. The comments surrounding their venture are questions such as, “who needs cable if this works?” However, the real question is – will this work?

I discussed in my first YouTube blog how they are finally making some money. If live streaming progresses without any glitches in the system, YouTube could overtake all websites that provide live entertainment and become the central hub for any and all online video. Then they would really be making some money. Like I said, this isn’t the first time they have attempted to run a live streaming test. The first experiment was a concert on November 22nd, 2008 featuring The Black Eyed Peas, Katy Perry, The Happy Tree Friends, Akon, and other big name artists. It sparked a significant amount of social media buzz, but the expected kinks in the delivery coincidentally occurred and temporarily silenced the buzz.

The recent September 13th experiment aired live footage from four different organizations: Next New Networks, Howcast, Young Hollywood, and Rocketboom: their programming can be found here. These are four partners of YouTube, and if all of the issues are sorted out, these and more partners will be able to broadcast live television at their leisure in an arena that permits continuous service. Wired.com wrote that Chris Dale, YouTube spokesman, told them, “Eventually, depending on how the launch works, we’ll roll out the [live streaming] platform for all partners,”.

Some of the issues with YouTube’s live streaming are as follows:

1. Two-way streets aren’t always the safest routes.

If YouTube is offering the ability for “live commenting” as well as “live video”, how can they control what content is published? According to YouTube at this moment, they will only allow partners to broadcast live content at first. However, if the technology is right and the portal is open – how long can they stop the rest of the population? How long until YouTube becomes another “Chat Roulette”? Of course, the positives are that it allows suggestions from the audience and gives broadcasters with small budgets more of an equal opportunity. However, there must be a line drawn.

2. The technology has to be there.

The technology is there, they’re just not able to use it yet. The two-way live broadcasting capability is certainly obtainable, but the wrinkles haven’t all been ironed. According to bloggers who witnessed the most recent experiment, the picture didn’t work or the video stuttered on both a Mac and a PC. The lagging of both sound and image was also considerably frustrating for those who watched. These issues, of course, can be fixed in time which is why it is still in the experiment stage.

3. Content, content, content.

Without the right content, how would YouTube have a fighting chance against any cable network or other online video site? They are taking an incredible dive into the entertainment world, but the waters will become terribly shallow without accurate content. It doesn’t necessarily need to be U2 concerts everyday, but it does need to be relevant and entertaining enough for people to justify why they are staring at a computer screen rather than flipping through channels on a big screen. Speaking of channels, why not have multiple?

It’s funny how with each step forward in technological advances, it seems we also find ourselves having to cross the same bridges they did years ago with advances such as cable television. In that case, what’s next?

This could be an incredible step forward for YouTube and its mother, Google. With these advances, YouTube has the possibility to see success skyrocket. In the same regard, the possibilities are not exactly endless. The amount of bandwidth and storage space it requires to tackle such a daunting task is immense, and this doesn’t come without a cost. In fact, depending on the extent YouTube wishes to grow, it could be quite costly. Of course, this depends on how much YouTube requires and permits for additional online streaming.

It will cost money, but consequently the popularity of the site will provide YouTube with the means to vastly support it in the end. It simply depends on how they wish to designate their funds from various partners and advertisements.

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