Sunday, November 9, 2008

YouTube to Team Up with Ustream for Live Streaming Event and May or May Not Announce Its Own Live Service

The YouTube Live web cast is scheduled on November 22 and Silicon Alley Insider says there's been speculation that they will announce their own web casting service similar to Ustream, Stickam,, and Mogulus at the event. Nicholas Carson spoke to a YouTube company source who has seen mock ups of the user interface and said, "Of course something could go wrong and they might not launch it," and a YouTube spokesperson contradicted the claim saying, "We're working with a third party to live-stream our event called Live. We have no product to announce at this time."

YouTube Live - 11/22/08
From: Live
Description: YouTube Live! is, first and foremost, a celebration of the site's vast user communities; everyone from bedroom vloggers to world-famous rock stars, musicians, comedians, athletes, artists and more. Part concert, part variety show and part party, the event will bring to life many of the amazing videos and talent that YouTube viewers have already made popular on the site. The two-hour event will take place on November 22, 2008, in front of a live audience in San Francisco; an audience of millions will be able to experience a simultaneous live stream on the site."

MG Siegler says that VentureBeat has confirmed through an anonymous tipster that the third party is Ustream and he noted, "More interesting is the rumor that YouTube could use the event to launch a live-streaming service of its own. If that is true, it seems unlikely that YouTube would go to all the trouble of partnering with Ustream for the event if it’s just going to launch a product that directly competes Ustream at the event."

Siegler also thought that perhaps YouTube might announce a formal partnership with Ustream to handle the live streaming on YouTube. This may give some credence to what Steve Chen told Sarah Austin earlier in the year that YouTube was interested in getting into live streaming and that they hoped to launch something this year. However, in August of this year Michael Learmonth wrote in Silicon Alley Insider that a source from Google stated that if just 10% of YouTubers took advantage of live streaming it would significantly increase their bandwidth costs upwards of 20% to 25%. That's because live streaming clips tend to be much longer lasting several hours and include chat data.

Learmonth concluded that it didn't seem likely that YouTube would launch a live streaming service and said, "At some point, if one or more of the live streaming services truly takes off, Google will be faced with a build vs. buy decision, but that won't happen for at least another year or two. Getting in early here doesn't seem to be a huge advantage: Yahoo launched a service in February, but its most popular lifecasters frequently have an audience of less than 100 people."

While live streaming service Mogulus has been successful partnering with Gannett it's interesting to note that Yahoo just announced it would be discontinuing its live streaming service Yahoo Live! on December 3rd.

So with the YouTube Live event only 2 weeks away it will be interesting to see how this plays out and what else YouTube has planned. They are already distributing full-length TV shows like Star Trek, MacGyver and Beverly Hills 90120 in their new Theater View style and also featured the World Premiere of filmmaker Wayne Wang's "The Princess Of Nebraska" in the YouTube Screening Room.

According to CNET they've also announced that they will be offering features films from at least one major Hollywood studio as early as next month. Greg Sandoval said that a showdown between YouTube and Hulu was inevitable.

Update: Soon after I posted this news had spread that The New York Times confirmed that MGM is the will partner with YouTube to deliver full-length films.