YouTube Live looks set to take off in a big way thanks to the introduction of monetization options. Content owners will now be able to make money from live-streaming content via pay-per-view or in-stream advertising.
YouTube began experimenting with live-streaming several years ago. In 2008 co-founder Steve Chen signaled it was on its way, and over the next few years carefully controlled live-streaming events such as Indian Premier League cricket matches and a U2 concert were staged to test the technology.
In September 2010 testing began on the live platform with selected partners. A full launch then occurred in April 2011, but the number of partners was limited, with many content owners put off by the lack of monetization options open to them. But no longer.
This week, to coincide with the one-year anniversary of the platform’s launch, YouTube has added monetization options to YouTube Live, as announced on the YouTube Creator Blog.
YouTube Live streams can now be monetized in two ways: charging viewers to watch, in-stream advertising. The advertising isn’t a surprise, merely being an extension of what is offered for on-demand videos.
The option to charge is something Ustream and others have been offering for some time, but YouTube has the potential to persuade some big names to its line-up of publishers. Live sporting events offered on a pay-per-view basis are now entirely feasible.
As well as the monetization options outlined above, YouTube Live has new features. Unfortunately they’re still only available to select publishers, but YouTube is promising a wider rollout over time.
This could be the start of something big. YouTube has the name and the power to attract well-known companies to its platform. If the YouTube Live platform was to grow exponentially thanks to monetization this could be the start of a YouTube TV of sorts. Which would put cable companies’ noses out of joint in a big way.