Google-owned YouTube is trying to catch up with Facebook Live and Twitter-owned Periscope. It's finally adding a live-stream button to the YouTube mobile app, even though it's already offered the feature in a limited capacity for about 5 years.
YouTube live-streaming: Didn't this already exist?
Yep. YouTube began offering live streaming on YouTube in 2011. It live-streamed the Royal Wedding in 2011, for instance.
Google also said that about "one-sixth of the Internet" watched Felix Baumgartner leap from space live on YouTube in 2012. And just this year, YouTube broadcasted a 360-degree live stream of the Coachella music festival. The thing to note however is that Google hasn't allowed just anyone to broadcast. It limited live-streaming to specific creators (like Red Bull, which broadcasted Baumgartner's leap).
YouTube live-streaming: When will it be available?
YouTube mobile live-streaming is available now for all content creators with over 10,000 subscribers. Anyone with less than this has been promised they'll get the feature "soon".
However, the redesigned YouTube mobile app and live-streaming button is already available for select creators, including The Young Turks, AIB, Platica Polinesia, SacconeJolys, and Alex Wassabi.
YouTube live-streaming: How does it work?
Live-streaming has been baked right into the YouTube mobile app, so there's no need to download a separate, single-purpose app just for live-streaming. For instance, YouTube has an app called Creator Studio that makes it easier for creators to manage their channel on the go. They can check their latest stats, respond to comments, and get notifications.
There's also an app called Capture that lets creators start recording in a snap, then edit, and share videos of any length right from their phones. Unlike these functions, YouTube live-streaming won't get its own app. You won’t need to open anything else, at all. You'll just hit a big red capture button right in the corner of the YouTube app, then take or select a thumbnail photo, and broadcast live.
YouTube live-streaming: What does it feature?
When you're live-streaming via the YouTube mobile app, subscribers and fans will be able to watch and chat in "near real time". Google has shared images of YouTube's upcoming mobile redesign, and it looks a lot like Periscope. Chat bubbles will appear overlaid on the video, allowing you to talk to fans. You'll also be able to switch the camera from the front-facing to rear-facing view. Google has said it's already responded to feedback from early users and slowed down the rate at which chat messages come in, to help streamers stay on top of them.
Super Chat is a feature that can earn content creators a bit of extra money. Anyone watching a live-stream can pay for their comment or message to be highlighted and pinned to the top of the chat window for up to five hours, as a way of making them stand out from the crowd and to let the streamer know they're a big fan.
Because live-streaming will be built right into the YouTube app, it will have access to all the features regular videos have on YouTube. You’ll be able to search for streams, find them through recommendations and playlists, and protect them from unauthorized uses.
YouTube live-streaming: Is it too late to the game?
YouTube may have offered live-streaming capabilities for a long time, but it hasn't offered a single-purpose app like Periscope, nor has it widely offered the ability to launch a broadcast straight from the YouTube mobile app (like how Facebook Live works from the Facebook mobile app). Both of these methods are easier to use and offer a push-button experience in which users can simply click to go live.
YouTube is now scrambling to catch up. It's updating its mobile app so that the ability to go live will be baked right in. Maybe, it's a little too late for the company; it's hard to tell at this point. But one thing is for sure: live-streaming is totally in right now, and it doesn't seem to be going anywhere soon. So, if YouTube can jump in now, it's better late than never. Right?
Want to know more?
Check out YouTube's blog post for more details.