By Ted Kritsonis
YouTube, the world’s most popular video site, recently launched YouTube Live, a streaming service that will allow content partners to broadcast events and shows to viewers live. Meanwhile, YouTube overlords, Google, officially pulled the plug on Google Video as a video content site.
YouTube has millions upon millions of video clips that generate over two billion views per day, but has never offered a standalone service that streams live events. Aside from one-shot deals like concerts, sporting events, gaming tournaments and interviews, it hasn’t really done much in streaming at all.
YouTube Live is meant to change this, offering a number of different web shows and streaming broadcasts in a format that includes show times and a guide. It’s all part of Google’s plan to overhaul YouTube’s presence and streamline its content into “channels” rather than the mishmash it currently has now. Part of this would include offering channels with “premium” content, which may be another way of saying that subscriptions or some other form of monetization with ads may be involved.
Interestingly, Google Video, which was originally a YouTube competitor, never truly integrated into YouTube. In fact, it’s been on life support since 2009, when Google stopped allowing users to upload videos in the hopes of refocusing the site as a video search engine instead — much like what it already does for images and photos.
As of April 29, playback is finished, and users who have uploaded content to Google Video have until May 15 to download them or lose them afterward when Google deletes everything. Not surprisingly, they are suggesting users move that content over to YouTube.
Going back to YouTube Live, it doesn’t appear that the platform will allow users to stream their own events live, like Justin.TV or UStream already do. Nor can it be done through smartphones like Qik does (recently acquired by Skype).
There are also no details on what major content partners or broadcasters will do in partnership. Major networks already stream shows and live events on their own sites, so it’s not entirely clear what niche YouTube Live will offer them. Time will tell, though, as this is another step in the direction toward web video.