YouTube Takes On Facebook With Mobile Live

Feb 11, 2017

It’s official, folks. YouTube is live! If you’re not sure what I’m referring to, let me get you up to speed.

Recently, YouTube rolled out a new functionality – the ability to stream live from your mobile phone. With hours of live, in-the-moment content available at their fingertips, YouTube fans can now watch their favorite personalities or brands and interact with them as they stream. What does this mean to parents? Caution. Now your child has access to hours of unedited, raw footage where anything can happen.

After starting with an initial test of YouTube personalities, they are now challenging Facebook for the live streaming crown. While this feature is currently only available to channels with over 10,000 subscribers, by the end of 2017 anyone will be able to live stream from their phone. Find out why this matters to your kids – and what you should be on the lookout for.

“Going Live”

What does it mean to “go live”? Going live is the term used for live streaming on social media, whether on YouTube, Facebook, Periscope, Instagram or Snapchat. Live streaming content can vary based on platform and personality but each stream is happening in the moment.

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Why It Matters

Everyone who is anyone is going live these days. From news outlets to celebrities to politicians to your next-door neighbor. People are sharing their life moments with friends, family and even strangers. As a parent, this can be concerning, to say the least. Monitoring social media can be a 24/7 task, but with the added unpredictability of live streaming – whether what your child is watching or what they’re sharing – live streaming poses a unique challenge. And while YouTube Live is not available to everyone right now, there are plans for all users to have access to mobile live streaming later in 2017. Their tagline of “Go Live. Anywhere. For Any Reason” is reason enough to pause. If you find this concerning, parental control tools can help you monitor your child’s online activity.

It’s A Business

If you’re concerned about your child’s exposure to marketing messages, YouTube is the greater threat. With advertising revenue driving the sales behind the top YouTube personalities, it’s a BIG business. In 2016, the top ten YouTubers grossed over $70 million collectively, mostly from advertising revenue. Facebook has only recently adopted a similar ad revenue sharing program with its celebrities and has not fully rolled out its live streaming advertising program.

Facebook vs. YouTube

When it comes to live streaming, Facebook has been the platform of choice for most users over the past year. Anyone is able to “go live” on Facebook and users can live stream with ease, as long as they have an internet connection and a smartphone. This has given rise to off-the-cuff, unproduced live streams with the main audience being friends and family. With YouTube’s mobile streaming, we’ll see a shift towards produced content vs. “real people” streaming, mostly because of current access restrictions. Primarily, YouTube is used by searching for specific content from users looking for tips or how-to advice.

Since YouTube has been the foremost authority on online video for the past decade, their production standards are higher and the YouTubers creating content for the site are savvier. The exciting thing about YouTube Live is that now your child’s favorite personalities can feel more “real” and accessible, like the ultra-popular Merrell Twins.

A Word To Parents

Caution is the word of the day. Anytime your child has the opportunity to “go live”, regardless of which social platform, extreme caution should be used. As with all social media, once something is posted, it lives forever, so it’s important to monitor all social media and online activity using parental control software.