Youtube have started trialling live streaming in the last week This is a limited trial, as they say in the post, and there are some interesting views on what this could mean for others in the space eg Vimeo, ustream, Qik, Livestream, Apple TV etc and for online video services in general. However, the stats show just how far ahead Google is on market share.
However, for some on poor broadband connections (or the very many still on dial up globally), this streaming is going to be an issue because even downloading a video can result in buffering, lengthy pauses and that irritating spinning wheel. However, this has been an ongoing problem ever since Youtube started and it hasn’t stopped it becoming a household word or for ‘video’ to be a more highly searched term than ‘sex’. In fact, quality seems to be third in the “ease of use – availability – quality” success equation that for many companies producing products would appear to be anathema. (If you have buffering and smooth streaming problems, try Videoaccelerator).
One question has to be asked: is Youtube going to roll this out just to partners, or will *anyone* will be able to live stream through YouTube? You can see how if YouTube positioned itself to offer this service to everyone, there would be little chance of any other providers getting a look in, and as Google’s revenue comes (on the whole) from search, you can see where that could go in terms of massively increased revenue. However, Google paid $1.6bn for YouTube so there may still be some ground to make up on that initial investment still, and your average Joe isn’t going to be willing to pay to be a partner having been weaned on the free content, free access, free everything approach that YouTube offers.
There is already dissension in the ranks from ordinary users (who are not viewed as ‘partners’ in a corporate sense although they undoubtedly bring many of the users to the site.) Should the ‘rollout’ have been to a selected few corporates (Hollywood) or should YouTube perhaps have picked some of the hugely watched YouTube oddities to test the service? After all, many people go to YouTube not to find Hollywood content, but to seek out the nuggets that mainstream TV won’t show until it becomes popular on YouTube.
There also seem to be some teething problems with functionality, which inevitably raise comments about why other lesser known services can roll out streaming and yet YouTube is having these initial issues. This being a Google product, it may stay in beta for a long time, but along with resolving these issues, it may well add live search and other functionality to enhance the offering. It may also combine this with its Citizen news channel (Citizen Tube) – time will tell.