YouTube Live Celebrates First Birthday, Now Lets Users Monetize Live Streams

By Megan O'Neill 

It’s been a year since YouTube started streaming live video officially and to celebrate YouTube Live’s first birthday, the company has released a number of new features, including the option for publishers to charge viewers to watch live streams.

Varun Talwar, YouTube partner product manager, announced the new features yesterday on the YouTube Creator blog.  “To celebrate the first birthday of YouTube Live, we went through the normal birthday thought process: rent a bouncy castle or bring in the magicians.  Neither of these seemed just right to celebrate the millions of you who’ve seen live videos, so we went with our favorite gifts: new features from our tireless engineers.”

Monetization for live streams is one of the most exciting new features.  Talwar explains, “You can now monetize your live events with advertising or paid options.”  Currently paid options are only available in Canada, France, the UK, the US and Japan.  It will be interesting to see whether partners choose to charge viewers to watch their livestreams or if they will stick with the advertising model.  More information is available via YouTube’s Live Stream Partner Guide.

YouTube has also launched Wirecast for YouTube Live.  Wirecast is a new free software that lets YouTube partners produce and stream live events directly from their desktops.  Talwar writes, “It allows capture and switching between multiple video and audio sources, roll in of media files and images and add live effects and overlays.”  Partners that have been enabled for livestreaming will find a link to download the program in their YouTube accounts.

Finally, YouTube has also launched new publishing flows for live events as well as real time analytics that will give partners access to real time data like concurrent viewers, playbacks and more.  Check out a screenshot below.

If you’ve got access to YouTube Live will you be monetizing your live video content?  If you are a viewer, what sort of content would you pay to watch?

Image credit: MML100 via

Megan O’Neill is the resident web video enthusiast here at Social Times.  Megan covers everything from the latest viral videos to online video news and tips, and has a passion for bizarre, original and revolutionary content and ideas.