Thursday, November 20, 2008

3600 shots to the groin later: YouTube goes realtime

On Saturday, 11/22/08, YouTube will go live.

Say what?

After nearly a year of promises, YouTube, the video sharing site that brings you--among other things--more than 3560 videos of people being hit in the groin, will broadcast a live show beginning at 5pm PST.

The live event will include popular entertainers (many of whom have had their work incorporated into fan-created videos and parodies) such as hip-hop icon Akon, dance sergeant Souljaboy and even real-life guitar hero Joe Satriani.

Most importantly is the participation of real-life YouTube community stars such as:
  • variety videographer LisaNova (whose YouTube channel has been visited more than 9 Million times.)
  • Blender-maker Blendtec and their 'Will it blend' series (YouTube channel visits more than 2 million)
  • Teen, "I have anger management issues" Fred Figglehorn (More than 9 million channel views)
So what?

Google, YouTube's owner, spent more than $1B for YouTube. And though YouTube's traffic is ginormous, revenues are not. The live event portends two things in my mind:

1. It moves YouTube into the domain of the traditional broadcast networks. Though user-generated videos have certainly captured the timeshares of many timeshifted television viewers, the networks have still dominated live video events...YouTube would seem to be attacking this last bastion of broadcast network advantage.

2. It focusses advertisers on the possiblities of YouTube as a legitimate advertising vehicle by highlighting the YouTube channel offering. Advertisers can treat YouTube as a custom broadcaster for their material...with their own channel...whether it's short form videos, 120 second infomercials or even creative testing, YouTube channels gives advertisers an equal footing with the individual YouTube producer. Integrated with automated subscriptions, feeds and Google's search terms, the YouTube channel highlights the ease of use, doityourself YouTube Channel toolset

YouTube live, it seems, is just the latest step in forcing the definition of a stupid network back to its smart roots (see here and here for a couple of example posts on defining the network).

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