Web video behemoth, YouTube, had their first online Live event today. Attended by the geekerati, YouTubers (Lisa Nova, Michael Buckley, Tay Zonday), and pop stars (Katy Perry, Will.I.Am) alike, the Live event seemed poised to be an online event to end all online events. So how did it do?
Well, the streaming video was pretty wicked. The quality was supreme - and with low, medium and hi settings, it ensured that you were able to watch no matter what your bandwidth. I was personally surprised that there wasn't that much lag time - especially since viewership was peaking at 700,000. A few glitches here and there, but overall very good. Also pretty cool was the On Stage, Off Stage, and Back Stage streams going on simultaneously.
The content was hit and miss - but for a first effort, it kept a lot of people tuned in waiting to see how their online favorites did in a Live setting. My opinion? Some YouTubers just seemed better Live than others. For some, the Live setting just magnified their stage awkwardness - they just didn't translate as well as someone like Esmee Denters, who just exuded a naturalness in her performance.
The feel of the event itself was very MTVish, and I caught myself trying to distinguish the two and find what was special about YouTube Live, besides the technology, of course. But I think that had more to do with the setting and the way it was shot, as opposed to the content itself - except when the most of the musical acts came on - but hey, you need your headliners, right?
Things I would have liked? A Live chat! It only makes sense to have a Live chat to go along with a Live show, right? Also, I get the censoring with sponsors involved and all, but it took away the rawness of what YouTube is supposed to be. Also, the censor was a bit off -- letting you hear the cuss word but censoring the five seconds after.
What I'm expecting? A Live feature to be offered on YouTube very soon. The technology is there. It did well on their first Live event. Why not offer it to the YouTube community? When it does, UStream, BlogTV and the like will need to watch out.
Overall, great job YouTube! You also managed to spawn more than a few online Live after parties. If you would have launched that Live feature tonight - all those users would have stayed on YouTube. ;)