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YouTube Launching Live Video This Year, Chen Confirms

YouTube co-founder Steve Chen has confirmed that the service will use Google’s vast resources to launch live streaming functionality this year, according to a video interview on Sarah Meyer’s new show Pop17. (Placemarked interview embedded below.)

This appears to be the first confirmation of such plans. YouTube live is probably going to be very big.

When I think I’m hearing about something new in online video I check with Liz Gannes at NewTeeVee and sure enough, Gannes posted tonight that this is to her knowledge the first time live video has been confirmed by YouTube. Gannes also has the transcript of the short conversation, in case you have any difficulty hearing the interview.

Robert Scoble asked Chen and Chad Hurley if live was in YouTube’s future last month at CES. In that video, shot live on Scoble’s mobile phone via Qik, the YouTube founders furtively replied that they “are working on a lot of things.” Meyers got her answer at a YouTube party last week, but being the media-savvy upstart journalist that she is she sat on the footage until the 3rd day of her brand new show about internet micro-celebrities, Pop17. Keep your eyes peeled to see what Meyers comes up with next.

Can YouTube nail live? When Yahoo! launched its live video service earlier this month the site promptly choked on limited traffic. Perhaps YouTube will wait until it’s got the scaling down right. Live video is easier said than done, on both sides of the camera, but has huge potential. Think of the impact that live TV has had and add the interactivity and democratization of online video publishing.

Given the way that YouTube’s huge audiences draw many of the best recorded videos online today, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see some very good live content there later this year. Can YouTube figure out a way to monetize the risk-laden world of live video? If anyone can, it could be the giant that’s slowly figuring out how to monetize user generated video in general.

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