Talking tech since 2003

By now I’m sure you’ve heard about YouTube‘s new “live” venture which will allow users on the already popular video sharing site to stream content live to YouTube’s vast audience; much like current streaming services like Ustream and already offer.  While YouTube has previously covered live events in the past, the site is now implementing features that will ultimately allow for live functionality to become a part of the everyday YouTube experience for millions upon millions of YouTube viewers and content producers.  While I must admit that I was a bit skeptical at first, I have opened up to the idea a lot more after reading YouTube’s formalized official announcement regarding the new feature.

Having said this, my recent article about YouTube’s success – coincidentally written just last night without my knowing about the “live” feature that would come about today – outlines the fact that YouTube is not only a well-established site, but very well has the potential to grow into a much larger and powerful entity.  And with this in mind, YouTube Live has the potential to become beneficial for both YouTube and for those who produce for it in a number of ways.

Viewer Integration

From what I have seen myself, one of YouTube’s greatest strongpoints is the fact that the site’s community is extremely well-integrated with the content.  YouTube users never seem to hesitate in sharing their opinions on videos, and YouTube has made it extremely easy for users to share their opinions with both text and video responses.  I feel that YouTube Live will take this already strong community-driven focus to the next level by allowing the viewers of live content to integrate and interact with “live comments” in order to make streams and podcasts more open-ended.  And as I’ve discussed in previous article regarding website traffic, this type of solution is guaranteed to increase the amount of traffic that YouTube and its producers see simply because viewers are more likely to tune into a show or program if they feel that they have a sense of importance in doing so.  By giving producers and viewers the ability to interact, YouTube is really opening up a huge door.

Professional Productions

Second off, I have to admit that one of the reasons that I currently steer away from sites like YouTube – and even existing streaming sites like Ustream and – is the fact that there is so much amateur content that a viewer has to search through before finding anything produced with any degree of professionalism.  Don’t get me wrong; I respect producers who have yet to “make it big”, but there is simply too much unprofessional and unpolished content.

One of the things that intrigues me about YouTube Live is the fact that only YouTube partners in “good standing” will be given the ability to stream live.  Now, I am pretty sure that YouTube’s decision to limit this functionality to established organizations and individuals has something to do with the fact that live streams are much more difficult to police for violations of the rules and terms of service.  But nonetheless, I am glad that there is a “quality control” mechanism in place that ensures that only those proven as established and dedicated will be given the opportunity to stream, as this means users like myself will not have to deal with “wannabe” streamers, and the “professionals” will not have to fight with poor-quality amateurs for attention.

Producers Will Be Found

In the same breath, I feel that by giving professional producers or at least producers that show some level of professionalism the adequate room to be seen without struggling to be found amongst boatloads of other poor content we will inevitably see new faces emerge online.  Sure, these folks aren’t guaranteed to become YouTube celebrities either, but the fact of the matter is that they will probably have a much greater chance of being found than they previously would have.

These producers will surely see an increase in their traffic and name recognition, and YouTube has the potential to see an influx of traffic because of these “fresh faces” as well.  Sounds like a win-win, doesn’t it?

YouTube Will Become (Even More of) a Destination Site

As it stands now, YouTube is well-known for having video archives of just about everything.  But that’s just the thing.  “Archives.”  Let’s face it; if you’re looking for up to the minute coverage on a particular news subject, you’re going to turn to an online news website that either has articles – or in many cases live streams – of just about every event or goings-on in the news.

Of course, YouTube Live will be…live.  No waiting, just instant sharing.  With this type of innovation for YouTube, the site has the potential to become a destination site for people wanting live news or event coverage; something they would have previously had to either had to have waited to be uploaded or viewed via another mechanism before.  Having said this, YouTube is sure to see a growth in traffic because of this aspect alone.

One Step Closer to Web-Based Television

Last but not least, YouTube has beaten services like Netflix and Hulu to the punch by offering live streaming services.  As web-based television becomes more and more of a reality, I think that YouTube has essentially gained an edge by bringing live streaming services mainstream (no pun intended).  For some, this may be the straw that breaks the camel’s figurative back in convincing them to dump their traditional television services for the more modern offerings of YouTube (in combination with other sites).  The potential benefit here goes far and beyond simply YouTube and its producers, but could very well help to bring us closer to web-based television becoming a reality and opening up doors for many other people.

What do you think?  Who will YouTube Live benefit the most?  Let us know in the comments!

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