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YouTube Live Report

YouTube broadcasted Live for the first time this evening. I watched the entire broadcast, it just wrapped up minutes ago.

The event included live performances from rock and pop stars (Katy Perry and Soulja Boy), a few of the most well-known YouTubers (LisaNova and WhatTheBuckShow) and various other acts from some of the site’s most viral videos (Will It Blend and MythBusters). Of course, some could argue that this hardly represents the YouTube community but, people aren’t tuning in to see the YouTube community, they’re tuning in to see familiar faces.

The people I follow on Twitter provided live commentary both from the event and from those watching at home. I think everyone agreed Bo Burnham’s premiere of his new song, dedicated to YouTube, was the highlight of the evening.

I was most impressed with YouTube’s streaming technology. YouTube offered three qualities to stream, Low, Med and High. I watched most of the broadcast on the Med setting, which was clear enough to enjoy. There was virtually no lag after the first five minutes. The video didn’t freeze, drop frames or skip, after the first five minutes (save for once towards the end).

At one point, during a new animation from the creators of Charlie The Unicorn, YouTube even poked fun at itself, having the video temporarily pause as they went into “Scheduled Maintenance”.

I would occasionally switch between the Main Stage stream and the Back Stage stream. Switching between streams was effortless and only resulted in a five second loading time.

The reason I am focusing so much on the technology is that I expect YouTube to announce live streaming functionality for the entire site, for every registered user, very soon. I believe YouTube used tonight’s broadcast as a public beta test of their streaming technology. If I’m right, YouTube will be throwing its hat into the ring with the extremely popular and YouTuber-heavy, and the ailing

Should that happen, and the technology remains as strong as it was during tonight’s broadcast, YouTube might have a winner. Their only task then would be drawing those YouTubers who’ve made a home on blogTV over to their new broadcasting format. And with how successful YouTube has been at monetizing everything else they do, I’m sure that won’t be too hard of a sell.

P.S. Both times YouTube attempted to censor the stream (both times for the word “shit”) the censor failed and took out five seconds of audio after the word was uttered. Curious what that will mean for streaming vloggers and the material they will or will not be allowed to broadcast.

P.P.S. thebeeobee just told me techcrunch printed an article about the third-party company that handled the streaming technology for YouTube Live. If that is true, that punches a large hole in to my “YouTube opening up streaming for all users” theory.

26 Responses to “YouTube Live Report”

  1. Candy Says:

    Interesting about the censor part, I wasn’t watching for that bit I guess.

    It was a bit laggier for me, but I’m 99% sure that’s because I’m on a wireless connection, so I really can’t complain about it.

    Also, I agree with you about the community part. At first I was thinking about how I wished it had been something more geared towards the community, but when you look at the most subbed list and what really garners the views (and thus what they have to respond to in a show such as YouTube Live), you have to realize that it’s something very different. I think there could be a successful show that’s more about the community, but it would be a very different format with a very different feel and on a smaller scale.

    I’ll be interested to see how they do with blogtv type streaming, if you’re correct in your predictions. Too bad they didn’t have any comments running in real time.

  2. achampag Says:

    you already know what i think…am glad that YouTube is trying new things and think its great that another “gathering” of sorts was had. its cool that we can invite more ppl to be tubers, and get the word out about our community.

    however, it would be nice if they would deal with ANY of the current site issues with the same energy, money, and enthusiasm.

  3. KM Says:

    i completely agree. great article. people are gonna complain it didnt show the youtube community, but it wasnt supposed to. and yes bo was great! and i think buck was by far the star of the show!
    and i never knew beardyman before this, i think he will gain a lot of subs from it bc he was on all the time….

  4. ktentacles Says:

    If YouTube does indeed announce its live technology, as you call it, will you be moving your live broadcasts there? What do you think it’ll do to sites like blogTV and Stickam, whose users seem to be predominantly YouTube figures?

    I’m curious to see if they do mainstream their live streams (haha, clever) if they’ll still offer the low/med/high quality options and that stuff. /: It seems like it would suck up a lot of bandwidth. I bet at the beginning it’s only offered to partners. We’ll see.

    I enjoyed it, honestly. And I really liked checking Twitter every few seconds, it was really fun seeing what everyone was saying. :D I think it was really well and professionally done. There were a few “technical difficulties,” but it didn’t seem like there was any lag, and switching between backstage and the main stage was a really neat feature.

    Just tossing in my two cents. ;)

    - KTentacles

  5. AskCarrieLee Says:

    I thought they did a pretty good job for the first live event and likely it will only improve in the years to come. Everyone was great, minus Sledd and Fred, sorry boys, can’t stand ya. Hammer? Wow, where did he come from?! Bo (happy to say I’ve met him) was most certainly the highlight for me and was best at representing the community at large. Overall, good job folks.

  6. Marchhatter (Alex not nerimon) Says:

    great review alan!
    I’ve got to say for what I saw it was a great show, even though there is still room for improvement.

  7. valerie2776 Says:

    I thought the whole thing was really well done, technically and content too, mostly, aside from a few really awkward parts (Fred and the guy whose song he used). Was a good start, and I think as they put on more of this stuff, they’ll focus more on the community. At least I hope so.

  8. Matt Says:

    I think that they will not implement site wide, I think it will be used on either am event basis or me available for partners or premium partners to use. If they open it to everyone it will turn into a smut filled land of lawlessness.

  9. Dave Says:

    It was amazing quality. I look forward to see what comes of it. Of course broadcasting one show is very different to handling thousands of live streams at once.

    And Bo Burnham totally owned that show, right from the moment that William Sledd made a ‘joke’ to him and he just looked on in utter disgust, a good hour before his performance.

  10. valerie2776 Says:

    Oh, also, the Will It Blend/Chad Vader part was EXTREMELY bad. So awkward.

    And the quality of the stream and lack of glitches was awesome. I had it on high quality the whole time, only froze for like a second two or three times. And I had all three cameras up simultaneously.

  11. David Says:

    I laughed at their censoring tactics.

  12. MimsieSky Says:

    I loved YouTube Live. I wish I could have gone. it has reinforced my love for the site and for the community.
    the best line of the whole night was in Bo’s song:
    “you’ve got nothing to lose except all your friends and the approval of your parents” totally classic. :)
    also the Ukulele Orchestra was perfect. I really like the YouTube centered acts more than the popular acts that just had something to do with YouTube.
    it was great! I hope they do it every year! <3

  13. Casey Says:

    I’m really interested in Youtube doing a live feature like BlogTV, and I also wonder how many BlogTVers will start doing shows on Youtube Live. That will be interesting to find out.

  14. Michske86 Says:

    I was watching on both Wifi and on my phone via 3G and both streams I watched in the highest quality.
    I have had no lag whatsoever, no freezing, no glitches…
    It was an amazing streaming experience I truely hadn’t expected, even on 3G, and I was therefor very pleased!
    Even switching between cams didn’t take more then 2 seconds.
    And I don’t even live in the US :) (Belgium-Europe)
    The show itself was very good, with Bo and Esmee as my personal favourite moments. Esmee was fierce and fabulous, Bo was simply amazing.

  15. thebeeobee Says:

    ustream did the streaming, for the record. it wasn’t youtube’s own streaming.

  16. Adam the Alien Says:

    I was amazed at the quality, lack of freezing and overall fluidity of the stream. The only pixelation problem I had was when I first loaded it…and then it quickly went high-quality, even when I’d fullscreen the feed.

    I’m with you on the prediction/hope that this was a public test of what will hopefully become user-ready live streaming capability. I also hope that the quality of YouTube Live will be available soon for all videos - live or not, partner or not. It was on a level I’ve not seen outside of

    If YouTube does the live streaming thing right, I think it’ll be beneficial for everyone…except sites like BlogTV, stickam and ustream. It could really enhance the community side of YouTube, and would negate the need for the “I’m on BlogTV right now” videos that have become so frequent. Not to mention the fact that, honestly, I hate BlogTV’s overall user interface. It’s clunky. I find I have to trick it into doing what it’s supposed to more often than not. And it freezes a frickin’ lot.

    If YouTube’s hopefully-upcoming live streaming for all is anything like YouTube Live, the future looks bright. Obviously, there will be problems - just as many, if not more in the beginning, as on BlogTV or anywhere else - but there’s a lot of potential in it.

    If YouTube does go the live-for-all route, a big part of me also hopes for something I’ve only seen available on stickam and tokbox: video chat rooms, in which no one is the “star”, no one is running a show…just people chatting via video. I don’t think YouTube will do that, but…allow me my fantasy.

    All in all, the more YouTube can do with live streaming, I’m hoping it’ll mean less need to go sign up for yet another and another and another video site just to follow what friends and other YouTubers around. Just today, I had to sign up for ustream to join some other YouTubers I know in a YouTube Live afterparty. It’d be simply awesome if that sort of thing could take place, oh, I don’t know…on YouTube itself, perhaps?

    This post has become a bit rambly and repetitive, so I think my point’s been made (that being: I really really hope this was a beta test for a public live streaming feature), but I think I should weigh in on the censoring before I close.

    Regarding said censoring, which was ridiculously awful in practice, I doubt it would carry over to user-generated live streams. This was an official YouTube stream. It was highly featured. It represented them and their image. Their (failed) attempt at censoring was simply to create a family-friendly show, a la award shows on broadcast TV. I don’t think YT - which currently allows quite a bit of profanity - would censor vlogger-generated live streams.

  17. Adam the Alien Says:

    Aaaand after writing all that, I just saw thebeeobee’s comment that ustream did the streaming. I’d like to know if that’s true or not. thebeeobee, what’s your source for that information?

  18. fallofautumndistro Says:

    Adam, I updated my post with a link to the article Bob sent me.

  19. Andrew Says:

    I really hoped they would launch their own live streaming service tonight too. Maybe instead of making their own from scratch, they’ll buy It wouldn’t be a bad move since they’d be cheaper than stickam or blogtv and are clearly very good at it.

  20. WhoRadley Says:

    I realize this is 99% off topic but I don’t believe that Stickam is “ailing”. I think you are looking at it from a youtuber’s prospective and you have to look at it from an internet prospective.

    Stickam is currently ranked as the 2,013 most visited site according to Alexa, BlogTV is ranked 4,451. BlogTV has sXePhil and WhatTheBuck, two popular YouTubers that are arguably less popular than Leo Laporte and Adam Corolla, who frequent Stickam.

    Is Stickam ailing when it comes to getting traffic from YouTube? Yes. Is it ailing when it comes to traffic or revenue? No.

  21. martha_s Says:

    Great column, Alan. I was impressed with YouTube Live, technologically speaking. I thought it was very polished, and I had no problem switching between streams (although I sometimes wished there were more happening on the other streams rather than just watching people milling around, although it provided some entertainment to spot people). While I thought the MythBusters segment was endless, and there were other awkward moments and boring parts (Esmee Denters, Will It Blend), just like any live show like that, I am happy that the highlights of the show (for me, at least) really did represent the YouTube community - Julia Nunes, Bo Burnham (CLASSIC), LisaNova, and, of course, Michael Buckley.

  22. miltownkid Says:

    There’s some clip from a long while ago with YouTube Chad saying they were going to jump into the streaming arena. I’ve read numerous reports since then they were NOT going to do it (because there is no clear model for making it profitable).

  23. Matt Says:

    No plans to offer live streaming to users in the near future. Yes, they want to hold some kind of live/gathering event once a year or maybe even more often. Anything is possible in the future. No, I can’t tell you where I heard that but it’s from someone well placed.

    My own personal thought is they would be best off aquiring another site that already offers the functionality and then work towards integration. We’ll see what happens

  24. Link Says:

    bo burnham was fabulous. i don’t know how Beardyman came across on the screen; but in the room, it was an unbelievable performance.

    as far as YouTube offering streaming to all of us…i have heard what Matt said (#23) too.

  25. Julian Says:

    I agree that Bo Burnham was indeed the best part of the event. I understand your theory about YouTube making a live show available for other users like and I am curious to see how this would go and would be a major addition to the website as it is a feature that most websites that contain it are solely concentrated on. Lastly, I noticed the failure to censor “shit”, it censored it AFTER the word and then we missed what was said after the word.


    P.S. Just pre-ordered your book :)

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