YouTube Begins Testing Live Streaming Platform

YouTube is officially and publicly testing their “live streaming” platform for a select group of partners today and tomorrow only. TechCrunch had the scoop last night and the YouTube Blog has the story this morning…

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. Today and tomorrow, tune in as we open a new chapter of YouTube live streaming.

It’s interesting that they’ve publicly testing for only two days; given how the company has always tested, tested, and tested before products ever see the light of day, this is clearly a stress test of sorts. Announce the channels, see how many people tune in to test the technology, record data, mine that data, then try to figure out what advertising you can sell for “live” broadcast events, get a set of beta advertisers ready to commit big budgets, then get publishers to agree, then launch. Or something like that.

This new platform integrates live streaming directly into YouTube channels; all broadcasters need is a webcam or external USB/FireWire camera. Included in the test is a “Live Comments” module which lets you engage with the broadcaster and the broader YouTube community. For the purpose of the trial, this offering will only be available today and tomorrow. Based on the results of this initial test, we’ll evaluate rolling out the platform more broadly to our partners worldwide.

This is an insanely smart move, obviously and something that I’m sure is a bit nervous about. Most major brands, publishers and advertisers are actively engaging folks via YouTube, so why not add a bit more functionality to that engagement by offering the ability for “live” tune-in style events? This means that Holy F*** can stop using USTREAM to broadcast this shows and go directly to YouTube where a larger audience is naturally hanging out. We hope the test goes well. In the future, we can easily envision that YouTube can be that platform for artists, labels and managers to engage with fans through live concerts and streaming events. The Arcade Fire event was just the first of many.