YouTube takes on Facebook Live with mobile live streaming

Digital Media

by Richard Trenholm February 7, 2017 6:00 AM PST @rich_trenholm

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You're already live streaming your life on Facebook Live, but now YouTube wants in on the (live) action.

You'll soon be able to live stream to YouTube from your phone, the company said Tuesday. Popular YouTubers will be the first to be get their hands on the feature, which was originally promised back in June.

YouTube channels with more than 10,000 subscribers will be first to get mobile live streaming. YouTube has only specified "soon" as to when it'll be available to us lesser mortals.

The video-sharing site, which already supports live streaming from a computer, will add a live button to the mobile app on your phone or tablet. Live videos will show up in your recommendations and in playlists. Viewers can find live videos in search, or the creator can make them accessible only to people with the link. Basically, a live video works the same as a regular video.

Viewers will be able to talk to YouTubers during live videos using a new Super Chat feature -- for a price. Paying for a Super Chat message pins your message to the top of the window so it isn't lost in the deluge of comments and messages flying in from other viewers.

This isn't YouTube's first foray into mobile live recording and streaming. Since 2015, it has supported live-streamed broadcasting for "let's play"-type gaming videos in its gaming app, but opening up mobile live streaming in its main app is certain to ratchet up the volume of video broadcast live.

The arrival of Facebook Live more than a year ago helped catapult live streaming into a bona fide phenomenon, and that popularity is something the social media giant is banking on. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has even said that we're entering a "golden age for live video." Certainly that was the case on New Year's Eve, when millions of people around the world gave the service its biggest night ever.

For all the use of live video tied to celebrations and celebrities, it's also become a force in more serious matters, from policing to national politics. Just last week, President Trump used Facebook Live to announce his pick for a seat on the US Supreme Court.

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