In the past couple weeks, YouTube has announced a couple different things that illustrate the direction that the biggest video site on the web is headed and that I think will ultimately have a big impact on your career if you embrace them. The first is that YouTube is rolling out live streaming on their site, and the second is that YouTube is embracing a new channels format designed to make the site function more like a traditional television viewing experience. Here’s the details…
YouTube Goes Live
With the rise of live streaming video online delivered through sites like UStream and Justin.tv, it was inevitable that YouTube was going to eventually get into the live broadcasting business and make that available to its users. After experimenting with live events in recent months, YouTube today announced its plans to expand the service and start rolling it out to select partners. While the service will be limited to select partners initially, there’s no doubt that it won’t be long before anybody can stream live on YouTube.
This is going to wind up being a huge development and will create a flood of new opportunities for comedians and new kinds of content you can broadcast. It will be interesting to see how it develops, but live streaming will allow you to better interact with your fans, it will potentially allow people all over the world to see you perform every time you go on stage, it will allow you to broadcast “live” from events or parties you go to, and it will allow you to let people watch your podcast as you record it, among countless other things.
While it’s true that all of this can be done now by using other live streaming services, those other services don’t have anywhere near the audience that YouTube does and that’s why this is such a big deal. Live video on YouTube is going to be huge and it’s coming – soon.
YouTube’s New Channel Strategy
The second major shift at YouTube hasn’t gone live yet, but it has been discussed in this Wall Street Journal article. Here’s an excerpt:
YouTube is looking to compete with broadcast and cable television, some of these people said, a goal that requires it to entice users to stay on the website longer, and to convince advertisers that it will reach desirable consumers.
The site is planning a series of changes to its home page to highlight sets of “channels” around topics such as arts and sports. About 20 or so of those channels will feature several hours of professionally produced original programming a week, some of these people said. Additional channels would be assembled from content already on the site.
It is planning to spend as much as $100 million to commission low-cost content designed exclusively for the Web, people familiar with the matter said.
This is huge for a couple different reasons. First, it shows that YouTube is really angling to become the equivalent of a TV network, competing with the NBCs and ABCs of the world for your attention on your Internet-connected TV (and yes, within 5 years you will have an Internet-connected TV). Second, it marks the first time that Google is getting into the content production (or at least content bankrolling) business.
As a comedian, this is yet another reason why you should be creating content and posting it on YouTube. Because in the very near future, that content will be able to be watched by people on their TV and YouTube will be looking to its own site to find people worthy of the content investment they’re going to be making in original content.
It will be interesting to see how this all plays out, but it’s clear that YouTube is about to become an even more important potential player in the development of your career.