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Summary:

Live streaming has finally reached YouTube, if only for a test: The Google-owned, video-sharing site is going to enable four of its partners to stream live shows. YouTube is only testing these live streams for two days, but the site clearly has bigger plans.

live on youtube

YouTube is launching a limited test of a new live-streaming platform today that could eventually lead to a full-fledged live video offering, putting pressure on sites like Ustream, Livestream or Justin.tv. Today and tomorrow only, YouTube will offer live streams from Howcast, Next New Networks, Rocketboom and Young Hollywood (check out the embedded widget below for the complete schedule of these live streams). From the YouTube blog:

“This new platform integrates live streaming directly into YouTube channels; all broadcasters need is a webcam or external USB/FireWire camera. Included in the test is a “Live Comments” module which lets you engage with the broadcaster and the broader YouTube community. For the purpose of the trial, this offering will only be available today and tomorrow. Based on the results of this initial test, we’ll evaluate rolling out the platform more broadly to our partners worldwide.”

YouTube has long been rumored to be launching live streaming. The site’s co-founder, Steve Chen, said more than two years ago that a live video launch was imminent, and TechCrunch recently unearthed a screenshot that hinted at live streaming.

YouTube may have held back on releasing a live streaming option due to copyright concerns. Live video sites like Ustream and Justin.tv have faced criticism  in the past for enabling copyright infringement. Both sites now use video filtering, but some argue these measures don’t go far enough. YouTube’s announcement hints at the possibility that it could sidestep this issue by restricting its live offering only to approved partners.

Related content on GigaOm Pro: Live Event Coverage: Video Rights Roundtable (subscription required)

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  1. this is incredibly exciting! at the same time, this is another step google is taking in taking over!

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  2. i have been watching live cricket matches on you tube. http://www.youtube.com/ipl So it’s not that youtube is starting live streaming just now. They have been experimenting with it for a while.

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  7. ustream is toast. with no proprietary technology and shallow catalog, it will be impossible for them to compete with 500lb gurillia like youtube.com.

  8. YouTube partners should not be the only live broadcasters. It takes a different skill set to succeed live. Please give others a chance to broadcast live too.

    Many popular radio shows did not have the same success on live TV in the 50s. Many silent film stars failed to succeed in sound motion pictures.

    Many YouTube stars have not done so well on television or live performances. They may not have the stage presence or quick wit needed for live broadcasting.

    YouTube is all about going from zero to hero. Live broadcasts by partners only will leave the little guys in the dust.

    Copyright concerns can be overcome by having live broadcasters properly identify themselves so the broadcaster is responsible for any copyright infringement. YouTube currently has massive copyright infringement going on every hour. Protected films and shows are watched on YouTube by millions. Search “Can’t Buy Me Love movie part 1″ on youtube and see that 162,000 viewers have watched this pirated movie over the past 14 months. Hundreds of titles pirated on YouTube add up to millions of views. The risk of copyright infringement via live broadcasting is much less than youtube’s current blind eye to pirated movies.

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