YouTube to launch Live Event Webcasting

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Next month, video sharing site YouTube will be entering the live Webcasting business, staging live events that will feature both real-world celebrities as well as popular personalities from the site itself. Dubbed “YouTube Live,” the first show is scheduled to go off on November 22 in San Francisco, featuring singer Katy Perry, rapper Will.i.am, and a series of YouTube stars, including 20-year-old Dutch singer Esmee Denters, who has shot to popularity covering songs on YouTube.

While YouTube users have already staged unofficial life events and posted videos to the site in near real-time, this is the first time the video sharing service has tried to engage its users in real time with a live event. By showcasing both real celebrities and YouTube personalities, YouTube parent Google hopes to increase the site’s popularity…and its appeal to online advertisers.

YouTube says it plans to stage additional YouTube Live events after the November 22 outing, but no details have been released.

So far, Webcasts of live concert events have proven relatively successful for Webcasters like AOL, Yahoo, and MySpace, which have been able to trade on the popularity of (primarily) established music acts by bringing them to a Web-based audience. However, video streaming technology and bandwidth have proven to be problems: while some Web casts have claimed as many as 2 million simultaneous users, many music fans experience with live Webcasts has been less than stellar. Given that YouTube has long has infrastructure in place to handle vast number of simultaneous streams—and broadband access is becoming ever-more-ubiquitous—perhaps YouTube’s live events will satisfy its devoted user base.