YouTube threatens TV with live streaming

13 Sep 2010

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YouTube has taken another important step in competing against TV with the launch of a new live streaming service that enables live broadcasts. Some 13pc of US TV subscribers are prepared to drop TV altogether.

The Google subsidiary is testing the new service with a view to enabling third parties to broadcast live programming.

The company has begun a limited trial of a new live streaming platform in conjunction with four content partners: Howcast, Next New Networks, Rocketboom and Young Hollywood.

“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,” the company said.

For the purpose of the trial, the offering will only be available today and tomorrow. Based on the results of this initial test, YouTube will evaluate rolling out the platform more broadly to our partners worldwide.

The move can be seen as an attempt by Google and YouTube to fight back against the rising tide that is Facebook.

Social glue

Almost 10pc of consumers’ time online is now spent on Facebook, overtaking search giant Google which now accounts for 9.6pc of consumers’ time online, according to new research from comScore.

The social glue that involves seeing what others are doing and saying as well as sharing your life in the form of status updates, pictures, videos and playing games now mean that people are spending 9.9pc of their time on Facebook, on average 41.1 million minutes in August.

This means users are spending more time with social media than search. Google accounted for 9.6pc of users’ time or 39.8 million minutes.

Cutting the TV cord

Thirteen per cent of current pay TV subscribers in the US say they are "somewhat" or "very" likely to cancel their current subscription in the next 12 months — and not sign up with another provider — according to a survey of 2,000 US households recently conducted by Strategy Analytics.

The firm says that “cord cutting”, the practice of dropping traditional paid television service in favour of free broadcast or internet-delivered ‘’Over the Top’’ (OTT) content is a growing trend.

“While it may represent only a relatively small percentage today, we anticipate the number of cord cutters to increase going forward,” said Ben Piper, director in the Strategy Analytics Digital Consumer Practice. “Service providers mustn’t overlook the next generation of TV subscribers; today’s teenagers are tomorrow’s customers.”

Younger Americans consume and value content in a way far different from their parents’ generation, and have little regard for how content is delivered, according to the report.

Earlier this month, Apple re-launched its AppleTV product, hoping to revitalise the product and make it a real contender in an increasingly crowded OTT television market.

Jia Wu, analyst in the Strategy Analytics Digital Consumer Practice, says that Apple TV hopes to capitalise on its loyal and enthusiastic customer base to fill a void that currently exists in the market.

"Like the music industry prior to iTunes and the iPod, the online premium video market still lacks a perfect provider that can connect a service with a device to create a great user experience,” said Wu.

“With its new and improved TV product, Apple is now preparing itself to repeat the success it has had in the music business in the rapidly growing online premium video market.”

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com