Sunday, November 23, 2008

I Want my YouTube Live!

I watched the YouTube Live event online last night and apparently I was one of 700,000 others that did the same. The star studded cast produced as a "part concert, part variety show, and part party" moved through a tightly packed script with no commercial breaks. It was MC'd by YouTube's Vlog Squad and featured a range of musical guests and viral video stars to celebrate YouTube's user community. The webcast player also featured "Live Cams" with alternate cameras to view the main stage, back stage and offstage. Those feeds were streamed live in smalller video windows under the main stage feed. It looked very similar to BitGravity's new multiview product.

From a user experience standpoint, my live steam was consistent with little or no interruption of service. I watched it in both medium and high quality and the high quality stream looked great at my meager 200 kbps download speed. There had been a lot of speculation on who Google/YouTube would partner with on the event and on the Mogulus blog Max Haot said, "If I was to speculate, I think that Youtube will use an established and traditional content delivery network (CDN) such as Akamai who can cover the Tokyo event too and build a simple Flash player themselves. Google would pay the CDN premium fees for bandwidth for it. They probably contracted multiple CDNs to ensure scalability and have insurance if one has trouble with the load."

He noted that it would be too risky for YouTube to stream their first ever live event with Ustream who has not yet proven to have capacity beyond more than 80,000 streams. He later confirmed after the event was live that,"by looking at the player and HTML code, we found that our prediction was correct. YouTube is not launching any live service and has chosen AKAMAI to stream this one-off event using a custom Flash player built by web agency Digitaria (See the publishing points used by the player - is registered to AKAMAI)"

Ben Homer of Online Video Watch said
, "YouTube paid a substantial amount for that, and it proved that they are miles away from launching their own live streaming service. So, despite the rumors we’re back to square one. YouTube got publicity, but they likely lost money on the event overall. In a weak economy there’s little incentive for companies to do these types of events."

Regardless of their ability to monetize the event YouTube proved they could scale to meet the demand and has been successful at branding itself as the premier online video community network.

I just want an invite next time.