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YouTube can still win the livestreaming war

YouTube, sounding a little miffed that House representatives were live streaming their sit-in using Periscope and Facebook Live, reminded its community that it has been offering live streaming on its site since 2011, “before it was cool,” the company snarked in a series of announcements emerging from this week’s VidCon event.

That may be true, but a single-purpose apps like Periscope are easier to use, which aided in its adoption. It caters to those who want more of a push-button experience: click to go live. YouTube, now scrambling to catch up, says it will update its mobile application so that the ability to go live will be baked right in.

According to the company, the main YouTube mobile app will be redesigned to include a big red capture button that will allow video creators to immediately broadcast what they’re seeing. This button was introduced last year in order to make it simpler to record videos on the go. (The fact that it didn’t occur to YouTube at that time to also introduce a live streaming component is something it’s probably regretting these days.)

If anyone was poised to capitalize on the renewed interest in live streaming, it should have been YouTube.

The technology had matured from the earlier days of “mobile livecasting” where apps like Flixwagon, Qik, Kyte and others were vying to become the dominant streaming video service. But these apps were before their time – mobile bandwidth that could handle live streams wasn’t as available as it is today; not everyone even carried a smartphone; some apps required jailbreaking to use; and it wasn’t as seamless to distribute the videos as it is now, where they move instantly across channels like Facebook and Twitter reaching millions of viewers.

With last year’s debut of Meerkat and its subsequent popularity following SXSW 2015, the writing was on the wall: the time to return focus on live broadcasting had arrived. The pain points of the past had been resolved, and the only real question is whether the market would end up consolidating around one or two key players, or whether an ecosystem of niche live streaming services would bloom. READ MORE HERE

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