Jim Dyson / Redferns via Getty Images

Live Video Streaming Is The New Jam

YouTube has officially released a mobile app for Live streaming. It is currently only available to subscribers that have more than 10,000 followers, but it will soon be available to everyone.

Live video streaming is not new.

It has been around for a while now, with services such as Periscope, YouNow, and Facebook Live, but with YouTube (the largest and most popular video hosting service) now in the game, it will hit the mainstream in a fresh way.

photo by Aana Diaz, Associated Press
“An entire cottage industry is emerging around these popular live streaming apps to explore promotional and revenue deals beyond content.”
 — Brian Solis, Forbes

What is the big deal about Live Streaming you ask?

You could easily shoot video on your mobile device and upload it, so why the fuss with video being live?

I’d like to propose three things that make Live Streaming uniquely interesting :

  1. Captured Authenticity

In a world critical of fake news and tampered media, Live streaming removes the post editing process, retaining the integrity of the raw footage. There’s a kind of human element and crude aspect to watching something unedited. It resonates as more believable.

2. Participatory Journalism

With blogs, everyone is a writer
With twitter/FB, everyone has a voice. 
With Live broadcasting, everyone is a video journalist, capturing events in real time from multi-perspectives and varying viewpoints. With every major event, tragedy, or celebration, a live feed in a localized area can be observed globally.

Journalism in the hands of common people democratizes global events in fresh ways. Providing multiple streams of the same event to allow for different perspectives.

3. New Broadcast Models

Live streaming will create opportunities for new broadcast models. Some that come to mind are as follows:

  • For e-learning, Live classrooms can offer quality live demonstrations, Q&A sessions, and interactive lessons, allowing remote students to participate in new ways.
  • Reality shows shot from real people in real time will give new meaning to the term ‘reality show.’
  • Life-casting will create new celebrities who do this well, much like vlogging has been doing successfully (example: Shaytards).
  • Live feeds attached to wearables (rather than just mobile phones) will eventually come to market. One use-case to this might be the ability to turn on a feed from something as small as a necklace when being approached by a stranger.


Like all young social media technology, there are challenges and pain points. Live streaming formats such as meeting apps (GoToMeeting, Google Hangouts, JoinMe, etc…) and gaming (Twitch) have already matured. Marketing companies and brands have started to experiment with some success (some examples here).

But the reality is apart from meetings and gaming, right now it’s far easier to do bad live streaming than good live streaming.

For entertainment, many streams are either really poor quality, or just outright boring. Watching three drunk guys on Facebook Live talk about their favorite sports team is not exactly stellar TV.

Bad connections, poor audio, and no element of storytelling or purpose can make watching live streams unbearable.

However, as the art-form matures, those who do it well will separate from the majority and establish their following. People will figure out what works and what doesn’t, and new models will emerge.

I don’t see Live Streaming as becoming the dominant video delivery format, but it is still an emerging technology with lots of potential for unique uses.

“The future of streaming video success belongs to leaders that embrace conversation, being human, and letting go” — Kathy Klotz-Guest