YouTube is conducting a limited time test of live video streams on the 13th and 14th of September. Four channel partners will have the opportunity to broadcast live streaming video content during this test.
Live programming on YouTube will be available only to the four selected media partners, and not to individual users. These partners are:
- Rocketboom – a news and entertainment channel
- Young Hollywood – a celebrity and lifestyle programming channel
- Howcast – an instructional video service
- BarelyPolitical – Next New Networks’ political satire channel
While YouTube has experimented with streaming live video in the past, such as on the occasion of U.S. President Obama’s first State of the Union address and the Indian Premier League cricket matches these were exceptional instances. This time, YouTube will be testing a new technology that will allow their partners to stream live videos continuously over an extended period of time.
The new service will eventually allow users to chat and interact with broadcasters and other users directly, even as they watch the video. They will only require a webcam or external USB / Firewire camera to do so.
While this development from Google may be seen as a move to check Facebook, which has been eating into YouTube’s video market share, it will also lead to competition with other live streaming sites like Justin.tv, Ustream and Livestream.
YouTube has not yet set a date by which live streaming will be available to the general public. However, it is believed that the live streaming facility will be limited to professionally content producers only. The service is not likely to be extended to all individual users.