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YouTube Testing Live Video Streaming

September 13, 2010

YouTube has announced plans to launch a two-day test of live video-streaming starting on Monday, marking their inaugural attempt at using first-party streaming technology.

“This is just an initial trial, a first step,” Josh Siegel, YouTube’s product manager, told AP Entertainment Writer Jake Coyle. “We’re going to look at a whole bunch of data about the performance of our new platform and then, based on that, make decisions about how we’ll open it up, with the goal of opening it up to all of our partners over time.”

While the Google-owned media provider has previously offered live event coverage in the past, Coyle notes that those broadcasts, which included a U2 concert and the first State of the Union address given by President Barack Obama, used third-party technology.

The initial broadcasts using YouTube’s own streaming platform will feature content from Young Hollywood, Next New Networks, Howcast, and Rocketboom, according to AP reports. Links to videos detailing the content each will offer were available on YouTube’s homepage.

If successful, the test likely will mark YouTube’s entry into the online video-streaming marketplace, which already includes the likes of Ustream, Justin.tv, and Livestream. According to Coyle, Ustream is currently the reigning champion among streaming video Websites, drawing 3.2 million unique viewers in July. However, that is a far cry from YouTube’s 143.2 million unique visitors during the same month.

Product Marketing Manager Chris Hamilton told the AP that website officials would monitor the live trial to gauge video quality and bandwidth levels. She also emphasized that live broadcasts were “a natural evolution to online video” and that streaming broadcasts add “an extra level of engagement” for a program’s audience.

“Any time you can bring your viewers into a broadcast–like making a shout-out to someone who left a comment–the audience really gets excited about that, on YouTube in particular,” added Leah D’Emilio, a producer with Rocketboom, a video blog which will reportedly be offering an hour-long variety program as part of the experiment. “It breaks down any kind of wall between the people on camera and the people who are watching.”

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