YouTube Adds Support For 360-Degree Live Streaming

What Happened
YouTube reportedly started testing 360-degree live streaming on its platform in February, and today the online video giant is officially rolling out this feature. Select performances from this year’s Coachella festival will be one of first content to be live-streamed in 360 degrees. In addition, the Google-owned company is also opening up its “Live API,” allowing any camera manufacturer to integrate the capability of sending live-streams to YouTube to their products. Moreover, YouTube also added support for spatial audio for on-demand (recorded) videos to make the viewing experience more immersive.

Previously, YouTube worked with GoPro to create The GoPro Odyssey, a camera rig that allows for real-time stitching of 360-degree videos. The action camera maker is also building out its VR ecosystem as it launches a new VR content channel and a new tool for live-streaming high-quality 360-degree videos today.

What Brands Need To Do
By combining the immediacy of live-streaming and the immersion of 360-degree content, YouTube is providing brands with a great tool to amplify the reach of their sponsored events and engage with the massive number of YouTube users in real time. As virtual reality and live-streaming platforms and content creation tools continue to mature, brands should work closely with content creators to develop such content so as to connect with their audiences in innovative, exciting ways.


Source: TechCrunch and Engadget


CES 2016: YouTube Keynote Session Promises Digital Video Domination

Earlier today, Chief Business Officer of YouTube Robert Kyncl took the stage at CES 2016 to deliver a keynote session on the growth and future of digital video. He kicked off the session with a bold yet reasonable prediction that by the end of the decade, digital video will be the thing that people spend most time on besides sleeping and working. Throughout his keynote address, he laid out four key reasons why digital video, and YouTube by implication, will dominate our future media landscape.


Digital videos may have started out on the desktops, but it is inherently fitted to transit onto the mobile screens. Where TV has struggled to go mobile, YouTube took the plunge long ago, and now more than half of YouTube’s traffic comes from mobile devices as consumers become increasingly used to consume media on mobile devices.


“Half of teens today use YouTube as their primary music streaming source,” Kyncl pointed out. To capitalize on YouTube’s vast library of music and music videos, YouTube Music Key is now included in YouTube’s subscription service Red. Scooter Braun, the man who discovered Justin Bieber on YouTube and made him into a star, took the stage and shared some insights into YouTube’s impact on the music industry.

Diverse Content

Kyncl also counts YouTube’s diverse content as one of its strength. “YouTube is a democratic platform, which allows everyone to create a video for anyone,” he said, and that’s why YouTube has something for everyone. Therefore, digital videos are choice-based viewing, and YouTube holds the biggest content library for viewers to choose from.

Immersive Content

Looking ahead, YouTube is betting on spherical videos and VR-mode viewing to be the next big thing in digital video. Kyncl invited Nick Woodman, CEO of GoPro on stage to talk about the allures of 360-dgree videos, and announced a partnership between YouTube and GoPro, which aims to help create more immersive content on YouTube using GoPro’s 360-degree cameras.


For more of the Lab’s CES coverage, click here.

Meerkat Adds Support For HD Live Streaming From GoPro Cameras

What Happened
Meerkat continues to break new ground as it announced a GoPro integration on Thursday. Built with GoPro’s open-source software, this new feature allows Meerkat users on iOS devices to easily live stream HD footage from their GoPro 3 cameras when connected to the same wireless network.

What Brands Should Do
The new feature came on the heels of Meerkat’s recent addition of brand-friendly “Cameo” feature (read our in-depth Fast Forward analysis on this here), and both present great opportunity for Millennial-focused brands to connect with their audience on mobile devices. The integration with GoPro cameras brings high-quality footage to Meerkat, making live-streaming a more appealing content platform for media owners and brands. Brands, especially those in travel or outdoor categories, could benefit greatly from this integration by making good use of the flexibility and high-definition footage that GoPro cameras provide in outdoor shooting.


Source: AdWeek

GoPro To License Stock Video Content

What Happened:

GoPro continues its transition from a camera manufacturer to a media brand with the launch of its GoPro Licensing content platform, which grants marketers and brands alike access to high-quality videos produced by GoPro, professional athletes, and GoPro users, with licensing fees starting at $1,000 apiece.

What Brands Should Do:

For brands seeking video content for promotional or marketing purposes, but lacking the resources to actually produce the content themselves, this new platform offered by GoPro could provide a nice shortcut for quality stock video content. Moreover, brands also can learn a thing or two from GoPro’s ongoing transition and try to monetize the user-generated-content to increase revenue as well as to elevate brand equity.

Source: TechCrunch

Google “Jumps” Deeper Into Virtual Reality

Google has announced a new version of its smartphone-powered virtual reality viewer Cardboard, adding support for iOS devices as well as phones with bigger screens. The latest Cardboard design will fit larger phones, up to 6 inches, and it’s gotten rid of the magnet controller, replacing it with a cardboard input button that will work with every phone. It is also much easier to assemble. In addition, an accompanying Cardboard virtual reality app for iOS will also be made available soon to broaden Cardboard’s accessibility.

Moreover, Google is also determined to push VR technology into the mainstream with a new open-sourced “Jump” VR platform that aims to facilitate and assist users in creating VR content. It also teamed up with action camera maker GoPro to develop a crazy-looking 16-camera rig for easier 360-video shooting.’

With other more polished VR headsets, such as Facebook’s Oculus and Samsung Gear, readying for consumer market, Google seems to be more focused on VR content rather than the hardware, which is a smart strategy for Google to ensure its place in the nascent VR market. Altogether, these new offerings will make producing live action VR content much cheaper and the confirmation that YouTube will stream spherical video will make its jump to the mass market happen sooner than later.

Can You Guess This Week’s Two Top Emerging Media Channels?

With the proliferation of OTT and mobile devices, new emerging media channels are popping up every week. This week, that honor goes to GoPro and Snapchat.

Wearable camera-maker GoPro has always been a pro at content marketing, as evidence by their über-popular YouTube channel with over 2.7 million subscribers. Other existing distribution partners of GoPro include Microsoft Xbox, LG, and Virgin America. Now, GoPro is making another big step in becoming a media channel and content provider by launching its own Roku channel dedicated to sports and action videos shot with its cameras.

Meanwhile, messaging app Snapchat continues to make strides towards becoming a full-fledged media channel. Following its announcement that it is experimenting with original content last week, Snapchat scored the exclusive premiere of the newest music video from Madonna, the first established artist to debut content on the messaging app.

Any brand with a sizable audience can try their hands at becoming a media channel, either by partnering up with existing distributors, as is the case with GoPro, or building out on their own like Snapchat. But in the end, only the ones with great content will win out.

GoPro Xbox Channel Launches

In January, news started circulating that GoPro would be making a dedicated, streaming Xbox 360 and Xbox One channel. Now, it’s out in the world, live on the Xbox 360. The channel will be featuring all exclusive content, much of which will initially derive from the launch celebration, which features viral-video-kickstarters like basketball shot tricks and Lion hugs. At the same time, users watching the channel will be able to purchase GoPro’s from within the video app, without putting the controller down – of course, the GoPro channel will advertise the specific units used to film the shorts. It’s a shot at Twitch, certainly, and other new forms of live streamed networks over Xbox, which are becoming increasingly popular and a large source of income for companies advertising creatively on the mediums. As the platform expands, expect to see more live streaming entertainment as younger people continue to cut the cord.