YouTube Live Adds Real Time Analytics, Paid Live Streaming & More

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YouTube Live did something completely different to celebrate its first birthday. Its engineers gave three gifts to YouTube Partners, wrapped up as new features:

  • Wirecast for YouTube Live: This new software allows partners to produce and stream professional-looking live events directly from their desktops to YouTube for free. It allows partners to capture and switch between multiple video and audio sources, roll in media files and images, as well as add live effects and overlays. If you are a YouTube Partner who is enabled for livestreaming, you’ll see a link to download Wirecast for YouTube in your YouTube account.
  • New publishing flows and real time analytics: Partners now have a guided flow to set up and preview live events before they go live. They can also see real time access to data like playbacks and concurrent viewers of their live streams by geography and format.
  • Monetize live streams: Partners can now monetize their live events with advertising or other paid options. For example, a live event can be claimed in the new video manager like any other video and monetized with instream ads or paid options where partners can set different prices by country.

When the initial rollout of YouTube Live was announced on April 8, 2011, there was some confusion over the name because YouTube’s first official community celebration on Nov. 22, 2008, at the Herbst Pavilion in the Fort Mason Center in San Francisco had also been dubbed “YouTube Live.” That event was also streamed live on YouTube, enabling millions from around the globe to partake in the festivities.

In September 2010, YouTube started rolling out an unnamed live streaming beta platform, which allowed certain YouTube partners to stream live content on YouTube. This platform integrated live streaming directly into YouTube channels. All a broadcaster needed was a web cam or external USB/FireWire camera. The test included a live comments module that let users engage with the broadcaster and the broader YouTube community.

Based on the results of its initial tests, YouTube decided to roll out the platform more broadly to its partners worldwide.

On April 8, 2011, YouTube closed what had been called the “YouTube Live channel,” effectively removing all the videos from the 2008 event. In its place, YouTube rolled out a brand-new YouTube Live browse page where users could find featured, live, and upcoming events happening on YouTube.

Here are some of the more interesting ones from April 2011 to present:

  • In April, Brazil’s Carnival channel launched on YouTube and live streamed a full six days of coverage.
  • On April 29, The Royal Wedding of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge was live streamed 72 million times to 188 countries at The Royal Channel.
  • On June 6, E3 carried live stream coverage of the gaming industry’s annual tradeshow in Los Angeles on the E3 channel.
  • In June, Dartmouth College and Stanford University used YouTube’s live stream platform to broadcast their commencement ceremonies.
  • On June 13, you could watch the Webby Awards Gala on YouTube.
  • On June 15, you could watch the live stream of a rare 100-minute long total lunar eclipse on the Google channel on YouTube.
  • On June 30, the red carpet event of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 was live streamed from Trafalgar Square in London on the Harry Potter channel.
  • On Aug. 5, YouTube livestreamed the 20th anniversary Lollapalooza music festival.
  • On Aug. 18, the America’s Cup World Series was live streamed on the America's Cup channel.
  • On Sept. 15, fans of comedy star Jonah Hill could watch the live streamed interview about his new movie, Moneyball.
  • On Sept. 21, some of the biggest bands in the world were live on YouTube performing at Rock in Rio 2011.
  • On Nov. 3, the Saudi Ministry of Culture and Information live streamed the Hajj on YouTube for the first time.
  • On Dec. 28, Geoffrey Canada’s keynote speech about education reform was streamed live by Capella University.
  • On Dec. 29, Professional Bull Riders turned a classic sport into a global league with more than 100 million fans tuning in from around the world.
  • On Feb. 9, YouTube Live from the Runway was your ticket to the hottest shows at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.

What does this mean to marketers? YouTube Partners have live streamed a broad range of events. This opens up a whole new category of content for partners to create and advertisers to consider.