YouTube reports an 80% increase in live video views

The video-giant faces a big challenge to keep pace with Facebook as online video evolves...

YouTube reports an 80% increase in live video views

YouTube Music app | Photo: PA Images

YouTube's brand has become synonymous with online video - but trends towards live streaming and a greater consolidation of screentime on social networks raise serious challenges for Google's entertainment division.

Views on live streams on the site increased by 80% during the past year.

The service also increased the total number of live streams hosted on its platform by 30% according to YouTube's head of product, Neal Mohan.

YouTube's live streaming

Its most viewed piece of content was the UEFA Champions League final which it hosted live with BT Sport in the UK, it attracted 2.2m viewers.

"When consumers think about video, whether that’s on-demand or live, they think of YouTube. Live is one part of the picture," Mr Mohan said.

However, he warned that "YouTube has to adapt" quickly as the online landscape shifts.

Of the major tech players, Facebook has established a strong foothold in live video - and Twitter has snapped up live video up-start Periscope and bagged a deal with the NFL to exclusively show Thursday night matches.

With social media giants hosting their own live video they are less reliant on users posting YouTube streams.

The company has been slow out of the blocks with its live mobile offering which it only launched in June of this year with a limited release.

Mr Mulligan acknowledged that smartphones are "increasingly the gateway for video everywhere." When the mobile product launched YouTube said that it hoped to be "faster and more reliable than anything else out there."

YouTube believes that its army of 'YouTubers' will help it to become the go-to source for live video.

"While Facebook is paying professionals to start using its platform, YouTube’s pros have already built up highly engaged audiences. Content creators are what will define who wins in this battle of live video," the executive added.