YouTube Gets Into the Live Streaming Game

After months of testing and tweaking, YouTube (s goog) announced Friday that it’s rolling out a new live streaming platform for its video partners. With the launch of the new service, which can be viewed at, YouTube will finally be going up against Ustream, and Livestream, seeking to become the king of live events on the web.

But unlike those services, the live streaming service won’t be available to all; only “approved partners” will have access to the live streaming platform at launch. But who are those partners and how will future live streaming partners be picked? A YouTube spokesperson writes:

“Given our scale of 2 billion views a day, it’s important that we roll this out incrementally over time. Initially, we will be rolling this out to approved partners who are in good standing in regards to our community guidelines. This ranges from partners who have built large audiences over time through their own unique content to premium partners. Our hope is to gradually roll the platform out to thousands of partners over the coming months.”

YouTube has taken advantage of live streaming in the past to deliver feeds of live events, like concerts and sporting events, to its massive audience of viewers. But most of those events were delivered over a partner CDN’s infrastructure. The new live streaming platform was built from the ground up and runs on YouTube’s own infrastructure.

YouTube’s first test of that infrastructure was launched last September, but its alpha run was pretty disastrous, causing YouTube to scale back its live ambitions a bit. In the months since, YouTube has been quietly testing a beta of the live streaming program with approved partners like Revision3.