Monday, November 3, 2008

Another One Bites the Dust... Yahoo Live! To Stop Broadcasting on Dec. 3rd

Many blogs have already reported the news the Yahoo Live! is discontinuing its live streaming platform next month. It's 9 month experiment comes to a close on December 3rd. It was started Yahoo's Advanced Project team Yahoo! Brickhouse and was intended “a platform for live video” to allow anyone with a webcam to set up their own channel and stream live video. It joined a crowded field of companies like Stickam,, Ustream, Qik, Mogulus and Flixwagon who were already in the same space.

When it launched in February of this year it had initial scaling problems which were resolved soon after and it became popular among lifecasters and live webcasters.

According to the Yahoo Live blog Yahoo software engineer Keith Thornill, "Our mission here on the Brickhouse team is to quickly develop product ideas that can add value to Yahoo! as a whole. To do this effectively we constantly evaluate our early-stage products and sometimes have to make the hard decision to move on, in order to continue exploring new territory and developing new products. So it is with great sadness that I share the news that Yahoo! Live, a Brickhouse project in social broadcasting will be going off the air on 3 December 2008."

Chris Albretch of NewTeevee offered these thoughts, "Is this a harbinger of things to come in the live-streaming space? Probably not. The whole project was an experiment for Yahoo, which, let’s face it has much bigger issues to deal with right now. While the sector as a whole certainly has struggled to find a viable business model, the startups populating it have managed to hang on (for now) and move beyond videos of people eating breakfast."

Although Yahoo Live! was an ambitious effort it didn't seem to have a clear business plan and it's not clear if Yahoo's current financial situation was a reason to axe the service. I actually tuned in this evening at 10:00 PM PDT and there were only 831 people watching 37 channels.

However, Ben Homer of Online Video Watch offers this perspective, "On a day where the Premier League lashed out at for their lax policies on taking down illegal content, it’s worth asking if Yahoo!, a company with real revenue and existing video delivery scale can’t afford to pay for bandwith, how much longer can some of the other players in live streaming space survive. How will they make money?

The answer is subscription sales, or ad sales, or both, but the former requires a rabid audience, the latter requires more targeted advertising, and both require scale and low content delivery costs to be successful."

The Yahoo blog concluded, "We hope you can join us in our town hall this Wednesday to toast Yahoo! Live.

For more out of Brickhouse, check out the recently launched
fire eagle, and keep an eye on next* to stay posted on what we’re doing next."