LOS ANGELES — Live video choices have blossomed, with YouTube live joining Facebook, Instagram and Twitter’s Periscope. Which one is best?
The answer is pretty simple — where are your friends and followers? If you have a big base on Facebook, you’ll probably prefer going live there. But if you have a good subscriber count on YouTube, you’ll get more action there.
Response is the name of the game, because if people don’t chime in, let’s face it, you’re talking to yourself.
On Tuesday, YouTube updated its mobile app to include live streaming, but with a caveat. It’s only available to those who have over 10,000 subscribers. (This is similar to how Facebook did it in 2015, when it only allowed access for some celebrities and TV stations.)
YouTube says it will open the app up to everyone later in the year, without giving specifics on the exact date.
USA TODAY was given early access to the app update, so let’s dive in and take a look.
You Tube Live
Click the camera icon at the top of the menu, and you’re given two choices — record (to camera roll) or Go Live. From there, you create a title, and chose whether to go public, or have it as an unlisted video. Now, smile for the camera. YouTube takes an instant snapshot of you for the thumbnail that will go out to your subscribers in the live notification. Then, get ready to go live. You can choose to broadcast in vertical mode — which puts huge black bars on both sides of the image, or horizontally. Once you begin broadcasting, YouTube offers 8 Instagram like filters (including Dance Party, Dream, Dawn, Sepia) to jazz up the image.
If you’ve got a base, they can start commenting on the broadcast, and here YouTube shines in showing off the comments in a larger, easier to read window than seen on Facebook. However, the comments can fly by pretty quickly. You’ll have to be on your toes to keep up with them.
Live streaming is available to anyone on YouTube.com via the computer, but it’s a clunky, complicated setup aimed at pros.
Pro: Simple operations within a popular app, and the videos live on, easy to find within your video library and YouTube’s recommendation engine. Plus, and this is a big one–YouTube has a compelling offer for those with a subscriber base to live stream on its app–a 55% share cut of ad revenues.
Con: the comments look great, but fly by so fast they’re easy to miss if you’ve got a popular broadcast going.
The social network allows anyone to live stream from the phone or the computer with a simple click.
At the top of the app are three icons, Live, Photo and Checkin. Click Live to begin broadcasting. Here, like on YouTube, your followers will get a notification that you’ve begun broadcasting, and will hopefully join in. However, Facebook is pushing Live so hard, that my inbox has been flooded with live requests. It’s gotten like e-mail — I only look at a portion of them. Like YouTube, Facebook has 6 Instagram like filters to doll up the image too.
Pro: Simple to operate and everyone you know is probably on Facebook.
Con: Too many notifications, and such easy access that we’re overwhelmed with so many local TV live shots and friends doing backdoor BBQs and parties. The News Feed is being dumbed down by live.
Twitter’s Periscope, the app that helped put live mobile streaming on the map, works in a similar fashion. You title your broadcast, hit Go Live and your Twitter base gets a notification to join you. Your live stream then lives on in a tweet. If you’re a viewer, Periscope has a map of the world with pins, to show you where live broadcasting is happening, on the spot.
Pro: More newsy and raw than Facebook — Twitter users like to show Periscope’s of protests, marches and the like. Great in the age of Trump.
Con: Twitter seems not to know what to do with Periscope — updates have been seemingly infrequent, and you’re less likely to find as many respondents here. (In response, Twitter points out that in 2016 Periscope added live 360 video, the ability to go live from Twitter and mark your best followers as a “Superfan.”)
The Facebook-owned photo sharing network now also offers live broadcasting, with a twist. Similar to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, your followers will be notified when you start broadcasting. But like Snapchat, once the broadcast is over, it’s gone. No replays.
Pro: Instagram has been around for years, but it’s becoming the network of choice for those who flee Facebook because their parents are on it, or find Snapchat too eccentric. You’re likely to find a different group here, and the broadcasts are less polished, and more what your friends are doing.
Con: No tools to title your video before you start.