YouTube gets serious with live broadcasting

Google today announced major updates to its Google+ Hangouts on-air feature, enabling users to stream live video through YouTube. The feature has gained traction recently with a series of high profile endorsements. President Obama used it for his state of the union address, NASA used it to stream astronauts from space and Miley Cyrus used it to promote her new single. (All high profile, but not all welcome – Ed.)

By Zafar Jamati

The Hangouts on-air feature forms part of the search giant's Google+ social network, which has struggled in recent years to compete with Facebook's integration of Skype video in chat. However, this new update will put Google on the front foot, adding to its successful 'vendor lock-in' strategy.

Google has taken a long term view by creating a powerful brand of products adding value to its core search function. Products like Gmail, News, Maps, Shopping as well as Android for mobile and Chrome OS for laptops and desktops, have created an indispensable environment with high switching costs.


The new Hangouts on-air includes the following functions:

  • Ten users can simultaneously join a conference from anywhere in the world, which can then be broadcast to the public live on YouTube. This will also add privileges such as a cameraman feature, allowing the host to show and hide other users in a conference. 
  • Scheduling to air: Users can choose when to broadcast and advertise a time and date slot for viewers to tune in.
  • Mobile broadcasting: The hangouts app allows users to broadcast direct from their pocket. With full screen viewing this really looks to revolutionise the broadcasting industry.
  • Enhance and fix lighting: In an attempt to improve production quality, especially when shooting from mobile, the service includes auto enhance and auto lighting.
  • Integration with Google+: Users will broadcast to friends, family and the public via their own Google+ account, adding value to the public profile. 

For business

So how can this benefit your business? Well, it is evident that there has been a real cultural shift in our media consumption habits. With the growth of online video, less people are choosing to watch TV, preferring the greater interactivity of online content provided by the likes of Instagram, Vine and Snapchat.

As a business you can get closer to and more interactive with a larger audience. Low capital costs means that consumer standard equipment such as a DSLR and a tripod can be used to provide very high quality content with minimal editing and post production.

On-Air broadcasting also gives your business greater control of what you want to do. There are no TV producers or rules of engagement. You can develop your own content without the added advertising costs.

Individuals as well as businesses now have a powerful tool in their digital arsenal to make even more impact, so what are you waiting for? Get broadcasting!

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Zafar Jamati

Stone Junction is a cool technical PR agency based in Stafford. We work for all sorts of businesses, with a particular focus on technology, technical and engineering companies. We like being sent cake and biscuits by clients, journalists and prospects.

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