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YouTube Expands Live Mobile Streaming, Adds Monetization Feature

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YouTube is expanding its live mobile streaming support to any video creator with over 10,000 subscribers. This is a slow rollout for a tool that was announced at VidCon 2016, then available only to select creators. Perhaps it won't take as long to reach the rest of the YouTube community: In a blog post, product managers Barbara Macdonald and Kurt Wilms promised, "The rest of you will have it soon!"

Live streaming in YouTube is similar to Periscope, with creators shooting vertical videos that have a fast and intimate feel. Viewers can post comments that scroll up the screen. Based on feedback during early testing, YouTube has slowed down the speed at which comments appear.

Shooting live streams looks to be simple, with creators prompted to create a thumbnail image and then go live. Completed videos are searchable, just like any other clip in the YouTube library.

YouTube has also expanded a live video monetization tool called Super Chat, where viewers can pay to have their message highlighted in a bright color and pinned at the top of the screen for up to five hours (depending on the amount paid). Super Chat is available to creators in over 20 countries and viewers in over 40 countries. The monetization option launched in beta on January 12, but is now expanded for anyone able to create live streams.

With these announcements, YouTube is taking aim at the growing crop of live streaming apps such as YouNow and Live.me, which are popular with young viewers. Watch to see if these established apps are able to maintain their audiences or if massive YouTube steals the market. 

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