VIDEO GIANT Youtube has started rolling out Youtube Live, a web video streaming service for broadcasting content live that will rival similar online services and possibly TV.
The new service will be available for certain Youtube partners initially with the aim to increase accessibility for thousands of users over the next few months.
Live broadcasts will have to be scheduled and unfortunately the times are always listed for the time zone where the broadcast is taking place, which may confuse international users, but they can be put into a calender. A live comments section allows users to post during the stream, facilitating conversation, or most likely arguments, between users and broadcasters.
Currently there is some cricket being shown, some news and not much else. In the past Youtube has broadcast content such as music concerts, sports event and interviews, but only on a one-off basis.
The service is bound to threaten rival sites such as ustream.tv, which currently offers live services, largely due to Youtube's massive user base and its widely recognised brand.
Whether or not the Youtube Live service will rival broadcast and cable TV is another question. The partners who provide the content will be, of course, a key element to the service's success. Most of these partners are American media companies such as ABC and Fox Sports so it is likely that this content will be restricted to the US.
On the other hand, Youtube is becoming accessible on more and more devices other than the traditional computer. For example, smart TVs are now including Youtube as 'premium content' alongside normal TV programmes.
So if Youtube can set up some desirable content for UK consumers, perhaps by making its US partners' content channels available globally, it might start to make an impact on the TV broadcasting industry. µ
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