YouTube App Brings Live Streaming to Take on Facebook and Twitter

YouTube announced today that it’s bringing live streaming to its mobile app soon. This announcement comes after Facebook and Twitter have been taking advantage of the live streaming option for over a year now. YouTube has been used for live streams of political debates and tech shows like CES and E3 but without the option for live streaming through the mobile app, the streaming service has limited itself from exploiting a growing market of live streams from actors, politicians and even other YouTubers. That’s about to change.

Today, we are announcing a new chapter in bringing the power of live video to creators everywhere. Soon, we’ll be putting the power of YouTube live streaming in the palm of your hands.

The change to the App was unveiled at VidCon by YouTube product lead, Kurt Wilms. The interface looks really simple. All you have to do is tap the big red button on the lower right hand corner of the app, take a selfie for the thumbnail and begin your broadcast. The interface lets you notify subscribers when you’re broadcasting. One big difference from Periscope and the Facebook live stream is that users will be able to search live streams while watching the live video. Live chat can be enabled and you can also choose whether the live stream will be public or not.

Live streaming has become a big thing in the last year. More and more celebrities have begun using Facebook and Periscope to broadcast their messages, live tours, Q&A sessions etc. Just recently, the Democrats staged a protest to demand gun control legislation in the US House of Representatives. Even though C-SPAN was forced to shut off their cameras, the Democrats continued their live protest online through Periscope. This is one of those rare instances where technology was used to broadcast an important message to the public. The broadcast was viewed over a million times. This was raw and this was powerful.

Apparently YouTube finally realised the power of this medium and announced that they were going to bring the live streaming feature to their App soon too. Why they didn’t add this feature sooner is a mystery to me.

Technology has been getting increasingly more mobile and people spend more time on their phones and tablets than they do on their laptops. If you follow vloggers, TV stars like Stephen Amell, Internet Stars like the Eh Bee family or even President Barack Obama you’ll know that they regularly broadcast live Q&A sessions, promotions, tours, messages etc to reach out to a wider audience which is increasingly becoming mobile. Being a video streaming service that has the slogan “Broadcast Yourself”, YouTube is really late to the party.

Facebook is stepping up its game by paying over 140 celebrities and media companies to produce content for Facebook Live. The deal apparently totals in at $50 million with 17 individual contracts costing $1 million each. The celebrities include Gordon Ramsay and Kevin Hart and the media companies include Vox Media, The New York Times, CNN, Mashable and Tastemade. You may recognize this as a more realized version of Snapchat’s ‘Discover’ feature.