Ustream Goes White-Label

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How to make money from live streaming? It could be as simple as selling it. Ustream today is announcing a white-label version of its live video product called Watershed. The pay-as-you-go service costs $1 per hour watched, with discounts for larger numbers of viewed hours. Storage is free for up to 500 GB and 30 cents beyond that.

ustreamwatershedThe biggest question mark here is why potential customers would want a separate white-label video product for live-streaming. No matter how simple Ustream makes its self-serve platform, for many people it’s going to be more complicated than using a video publishing platform that offers live as a feature. And for many more potential customers, free products like the one Ustream already offers are good enough.

But since Ustream uses the widely installed Flash, it’s already a step ahead of many existing live white-label service providers, which requires additional plug-ins. From what we’ve seen, Ustream can stream really excellent quality when it wants to, although much of the time its videos are barely watchable. But if the quality’s good enough, one existing market this could potentially affect is video conferencing, where costs are often ridiculously steep.

For the launch, Ustream has designed an entirely different section of its web site with a far more corporate and less Google (s goog) AdSense-y feel. If Watershed does take off, it seems the company is setting itself up to choose between the paid product and the ad-supported consumer stuff, even though the free site currently boasts more than 10 million uniques per month.

But let’s not overblow this. In December, Ustream competitors Stickam and Mogulus both announced paid versions of their service.

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Watershed could be the cheapest and most effective way for all parties involved in a video conference. Ustream’s use of flash means it is more up-to-date than current live video products. Watershed could also potentially cut into Skype’s video conferencing market.

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