YouTube disrupts live streaming

YouTube have put out a number of announcements that enhance their service; the most notable change being the provision of live streaming to channels that have 100+ subscribers and have been in good standing.

So who will this affect?

The most directly affected will be streaming services like UStream and the lower end of businesses like ThomsonReuters. YouTube’s large scale entry into live stream will have a similar chilling effect to Google Reader devastation of incumbent RSS readers with the introduction of Google Reader a number of years ago. Hopefully YouTube will be more committed to live stream than Google was to Reader.

It is also likely to affect the PR eco-system as campaigns will become more visual and event-driven.

How will this affect them?

Clients

This is truly amazing. A portable television studio. No wonder your president has to be an actor, he’s gotta look good on television!” – Doc Brown, Back to The Future.

Live streaming brings live events costs down in line with what smaller consumer brands and medium sized B2B clients can afford.  Whilst events could  be streamed before, free or low cost tools like UStream can’t bring the same scale and infrastructure to the table that YouTube can. The YouTube brand carries a lot of trust and weight with clients. Directing an audience towards a feed on a YouTube channel also allows for cross-promotion of other video content like demos, talking heads and adverts.

With every opportunity comes challenges; live events need to be treated like TV appearances in order to provide the brand with a professional finish. Events need to be staged in a manner that looks professional on the live feed. The challenge is that most seminars look anything but professional in the room decor, dress and lighting.

Events agencies

This change means that events agencies (good ones anyway) are going to start looking like a web development agency during the dot.com boom of the late nineties; at least until the hype dies down and PR agencies further up-skill in their ability to manage projects and think visually.

PR agencies

This is likely to mean that budgets will need to work harder to deliver results, but spells opportunity for those PROs and PR refugees with broadcast media experience in front of the camera as television skills become much more important.

Archived from blog posts I wrote for PR Week