Google-owned Platform Takes on Facebook, Snapchat

YouTube hopes to cut down the lead of Facebook and Snapchat when it comes to live feeds. The top online source for videos is looking to slowly be the best in providing real-time content.


In recent years, different online platforms have turned to live streaming. This allows their subscribers to share interesting and useful content real time. To keep up with other social media platforms, the Google-owned platform YouTube knew it had to start offering the live-video feature to its members. The app allows users to watch live streams.

It hasn’t picked up yet and more people are still using Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and Snapchat to post live content. But reports are showing good signs of improvement. The views of YouTube Live have increased by 80% last year.

According to Neal Mohan, the Head of Product at YouTube, the amount of live streams posted by its users has grown by 130% over the same time period. He says that this positive development was achieved because of their focused effort on promoting the use of real-time content. As newbies in the mobile video broadcasting industry, YouTube is taking huge strides to stay abreast with the major players like Snapchat and Facebook.

Mohan adds that, “When consumers think about video, whether that’s on-demand or live, they think of YouTube. Live is one part of the picture.” He also said that their website recently had about 2.2 million viewers when it broadcasted a live streaming telecast of the UEFA Champions League football final. This was the biggest live event that YouTube has covered for the United Kingdom.

Mohan also said that the main advantage of YouTube over its competitors is their advertising deals. It allows the website to continue earning from the content they broadcast even if it was no longer streaming live.

Actually, YouTube was one of the first websites to offer live video option five years ago. Their desktop platform allowed the subscribers to post live video feeds but it did not attract too many users at that time. Last June, YouTube Live was released as an option for those who intend to stream live videos using their mobile devices.

Senior analyst for Midia Research Tim Mulligan said that smartphones and other mobile devices were “increasingly the gateway for video everywhere”. He also said that “YouTube has to adapt to that quickly.”

Though Snapchat was only launched in 2011, it already reached 49 million unique visitors who watched the games on the first week of the Rio Olympics. This consists of about a third of its 150 million daily active users. In a bold but brilliant move, Snapchat also signed an agreement with the National Football League allowing it to broadcast short clips  of all its games via live streaming.

As for Facebook, it stated that their average user watches live videos three times longer than the other forms of videos on their site. Mulligan said that “Facebook has aggressively courted professionals like BuzzFeed and Channing Tatum with a $50 million budget and they’ve got a user base of more than 1.6 billion people.” He continued by saying that, “they get approximately six times engagement with live compared to recorded video, and that’s steadily going up.”

Mulligan also said that “[w]hile Facebook is paying professionals to start using its platform, YouTube’s pros have already built up highly engaged audiences.” He concludes by emphasizing that “[c]ontent creators are what will define who wins in this battle of live video.”

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