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Will YouTube offer live video streaming soon?
June 14, 2010
by Mark Ollig

During the last five years, the users of YouTube have been uploading video content which has been viewed and commented upon by a world-wide audience.

YouTube started online public beta-testing in May 2005, and was later acquired by the Internet search engine giant Google in October 2006.

During the last couple of years, YouTube, which is headquartered in San Bruno, CA, has been broadcasting more live public events – such as a recent U2 concert.

As we know, real-time broadcasting over the Internet of public and private content and social events has become increasingly popular. If you Google or Bing “live video streaming” you will come across many of the sites providing it.

So, what will YouTube’s plans be for the near future?

The online folks are blogging that YouTube might be jumping into the live-streaming video fray, by allowing their subscribers to broadcast their own video streams in real-time to the masses.

It’s still very speculative, but a possible new feature YouTube is making plans for was allowed to slip through.

In viewing the YouTube help page, it shows something which has caught many of us by surprise.

On the help page, there is a display menu with an individual tab curiously labeled “Live Stream.” Here is a shortened URL link for you of my “snap-shot” picture of it: tinyurl.com/29h8af7.

Video live-streaming by individuals over the Internet isn’t something new, as my readers will remember I have written a few columns about social video live-streaming and life-casting in the past.

Justin.tv, UStream, Live-stream, Stickam, and others are examples of online mediums for providing individual users a venue for live video streaming.

Live video streaming of public, educational, local government, and breaking news events by citizen reporters and tech journalists, along with personal life-casting and live-streaming social video content created by people over the Internet will continue to increase. I feel this type of live video content casting is the future road being paved for the Internet to travel upon.

The concerns about reporting accuracy, personal infringements, and copyright claims will need to be monitored and addressed, when needed.

Certainly, increased bandwidth allocation issues will need to be addressed by not only the sites like YouTube, but by the providers of the networks on which the Internet itself is carried.

Since social live-streaming video sites like Justin.tv have been able to survive though these video challenges, I suspect the larger YouTube site will be able to also.

It is interesting to note the very first video to be uploaded onto the YouTube site occurred Saturday, April 23 2005. YouTube founder Jawed Karim made a brief video (19 seconds) of his visit to the San Diego Zoo, which he labeled “Me at the zoo.” The video was filmed by Yakov Lapitsky. To see this historical video, go to tinyurl.com/poonr.

ComScore, a company which calls itself “a global leader in measuring the digital world and preferred source of digital marketing intelligence,” released its video “media metrix” or Internet audience measurements for the month of April.

The company reported more than 30 billion videos were watched online, with 13 billion of them mostly viewed on YouTube. Hulu, another popular Internet video content source, had a reported 958 million of their videos viewed online.

178 million Americans watched some type of online video during the month of April. ComScore broke this number down further and reported the average online videos watched per viewer was 170.5 for the month.

The average length of an online video watched was 4.4 minutes.

ComScore reported June 2 that “social networking” ranks as the fastest-growing mobile content category.

“Social networking is by far the fastest-growing mobile activity right now. With 20 percent of mobile users now accessing social networking sites via their phone, we expect to see both application and browser usage continuing to drive future consumption of social media,” said Mark Donovan, ComScore senior vice president of mobile.

For more interesting online usage statistics, check out www.comscore.com.

As far as when YouTube will start allowing users to stream live video over their network, the official information I have found says they have “no immediate plans to release a live streaming video service” – at least for now.

If you are on Twitter, be sure to read your humble columnist’s opinions and occasional rants by following my user name bitsandbytes.

The Bits_blogger and I greatly appreciate all the followers of the online “Web Site of The Week” forum, as it recently went over the 10,000 views mark since the first post was made March 14, 2008.