Did you know that YouTube generates over 2 billion views per day? That means that the video sharing site, that started life as a home for videos of sneezing pandas, piano playing cats and "lonely people talking to themselves", is reaching the tipping point where the "network is the content".
YouTube have been experimenting with streaming live events for some time, with the Indian Premier League featured live on YouTube just over a year ago.
Now, live broadcasting is available to YouTube partner accounts:
"Today, we'll also start gradually rolling out our live streaming beta platform, which will allow certain YouTube partners with accounts in good standing to stream live content on YouTube. The goal is to provide thousands of partners with the capability to live stream from their channels in the months ahead. In order to ensure a great live stream viewing experience, we'll roll this offering out incrementally over time."
Live broadcasts now have their own destination page called at: http://www.youtube.com/live
One of the key aspects of this update is that live, real-time, comments will be enabled ans users can engage with other 'live streamers'. The first grand live event airs today on YouTube at 7pm PST (10pm EST).
What opportunities does this create for online marketers?
Given the popularity among YouTubers for recording reactions to videos such as people's horror and mirth for content such as Rebecca Black's Friday Song, it strikes me that true visual spectacles (no matter how tacky) could gain a lot of traction on live streams.
And on the subject of the network being the content, I'm willing to bet money that live streaming will come to Facebook in the not too distant future. Tagging people in to watch a show is where Facebook can really compete. In the case of video Google's +1 button really needs to do something more exciting than it does now.