YouTube Preps Streaming Video Experiment

by Jordan Richardson on April 11, 2011

Google’s YouTube is taking another step toward total entertainment domination with its YouTube Live, a section of the site that will broadcast live events as they happen.

YouTube will now allow users known as “partners” the capability of streaming live broadcasts.

“We’re exploring the next chapter of online video,” said Google Canada spokesperson Wendy Rozeluk. “You’ll see some high-quality content, but also quality user-generated content as well.”

YouTube will begin to add more partners as the service develops, of course, but for now the offerings are meagre but satisfying. I just checked out some cricket from Indiatimes’ channel, for instance. Google plans to invest up to $100 million in the production of original content and hopes to garner deals with some big players to gather channels around specific topics.

But it won’t be an easy road, that’s for sure. One can already smell the resistance coming from major networks refusing to broadcast large events. Advertising budgets are down and more people are moving to online content, so the networks are holding on to every single scrap that they think makes them unique.

Sports could be a major area for live event streaming, but the networks’ grip on those events is especially talon-like. With Bell and Rogers going toe-to-toe with their TSN and Sportsnet networks, it’ll be hard to imagine that they’ll be willing to give anything up to YouTube. Add Shaw in the mix with their own plans to develop a sports channel and you’ve got a crowded market applying for the rights to broadcast all the top events. YouTube, at least for now, doesn’t stand a chance.

Then there’s the question of digital rights, most of which are held by the respective sports leagues. In the case of the National Hockey League, markets that do want to provide live games online have to apply for special rights to do so. This again puts YouTube on the outside looking in – at least for now.

As the content and popularity of YouTube Live grows, the opportunities will too. The partnership possibilities, even outside of the big guns, are significant enough to warrant further exploration. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to continue pretending to understand cricket.

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Written by: Jordan Richardson. Follow by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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