YouTube Live, the live streaming service that YouTube first launched in limited beta over two years ago, is finally expanding to a much wider audience. Starting today, all YouTube channels with over 1,000 subscribers each will gain the ability to broadcast live video content to their viewers on all devices. Previously, YouTube only offered live streaming to select partner accounts and video game developers.
The new Live features include multiple camera angles and the ability for users to skip around on the stream as it is playing. Channel operators can apply for the new YouTube Live streaming features by checking a box at the bottom of their "Account Features" page. YouTube has also been slowly rolling out paid live-streaming features — including subscriptions and pay-per-view — to some partner accounts, but it's unclear if today's expansion will bring these paid live-streaming features to more accounts as well.
Given YouTube's move last week to launch paid subscriptions for a select list of channels offering mostly prerecorded content, more YouTube Live channels with paid options are likely not far off, either. Today's YouTube Live expansion makes total sense in the company's quest to compete head-on with traditional TV for ad dollars and eyeballs, and puts more pressure on online-only competitors Ustream and Livestream. At the very least, we can expect more live broadcasts of pet/household appliance interactions coming soon.