YouTube Adds Live TV; Themed Channels To Follow

Dennis Faas's picture

YouTube has unveiled a section of its site dedicated to live video broadcasts. It could be the first step towards a full set of TV-style channels with original programming.

Although the Google-owned site has occasionally broadcast live video (such as interviews with politicians and concerts), this is the first time its has had a dedicated section on the site for live streaming.

The plan is to allow YouTube users to stream their own content in the future. This will be rolled out gradually, with the intent being to allow the site programmers to work out the kinks, though it may also be so staff can make sure only trusted users have access to the live feature rather than those who might abuse it. (Source:

Video Games a Star Attraction

At the moment there are only a few events listed: for example, at the time of writing this article, an Indian cricket match was bring broadcast live, with a lecture by a Stanford professor and an interview with the developers of the Mortal Kombat games scheduled for later in the day.

Many of the listed events are currently gaming-related broadcasts where it appears the main benefit of being live is that the hosts can respond to user comments in real time.

The new feature isn't just about the streaming technology though: it's part of a wider plan to encourage users to spend more time on the site rather than just watch a short clip and then leave. That, of course, would give more opportunity to display advertising to users and help the site make Google more money.

$100 Million Budget for Shows

As part of that effort, YouTube is also reported to be planning to spend as much as $100 million to buy the rights to original programming for the site. It wants to put together around 20 TV-style "channels", each based around a particular theme and carrying several hours of first-run shows every day. (Source:

YouTube Streamed to Televisions Directly

Although such a strategy has been talked about in the past, YouTube bosses appear to be working on the basis that a growing number of people now have easy ways to access the site on their television; for example, through a cable box or games console. That makes it much more likely the viewer will be comfortable watching full-length shows rather than short clips.

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