YouTube Aims to Be Mobile Platform for Live Video Streaming

Google’s YouTube has debuted live video recording from its mobile app for creators with at least 10,000 subscribers. Super Chat, which lets viewers pay to move their comments up in the stream, is also now out of beta. These moves will impact creators in 20 countries, and viewers in 40 countries. Six months ago, Google first offered live recording to a handful of users, including Unbox Therapy founder Lewis Hilsenteger and athlete Ben Brown. Product managers Barbara Macdonald and Kurt Wilms say the feature will have a wider rollout later.

TechCrunch notes that the live streaming feature is built into the app, “where you will be able to snap a cover picture, and then press another button to start recording.” Macdonald and Wilms also report that streaming quality across a wider range of devices has been improved, and that YouTube will also slow down live chat because, “it turns out receiving 2,000 messages per second is a little too fast!”

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Although YouTube has been a platform for live viewing since 2011, with Felix Baumgartner’s 2012 skydive attracting 8 million live viewers, the new emphasis is on videos recorded by “YouTubers and everyday people with mobile devices.”

Creators who use the new live recording feature can turn on Super Chat; it appears that YouTube will split the revenues from Super Chat with creators “in the same way that it does for AdSense.” Creators can track Super Chat revenues from the AdSense dashboard. With Super Chat, the cost of boosting comments up in the stream will depend on how high up the user wants his comment to appear and for how long. Creators will moderate their Super Chats, just as they do live chats.

TechCrunch notes that Super Chat “lays the groundwork for paying for a whole lot of other things during live streams, and also helps motivate creators to make more of these live streams as part of their bigger business efforts.”

Rivals such as Facebook, with its Live, Twitter’s Periscope and the now-defunct Meerkat came to live recording before YouTube, “quicker to tap into the confluence of faster mobile networks, better devices, and willing audiences of viewers and creators that have a taste for improvised video.”

But what YouTube brings to the table is its over 1 billion users, estimated to be “nearly one-third of all Internet users,” who visit at least once a day. More than half of those visits are on mobile, meaning “there is a ready and willing audience of creators and consumers for live streams made on mobile.”