YouTube Announces Mobile Live Streaming, New Original Series

Sia performs at Jacob Javitz Center in New York City
Taylor Hill/FilmMagic for YouTube

Sia performs with dancers during YouTube Brandcast presented by Google at Jacob Javitz Center on May 5, 2016 in New York City. 

YouTube is not taking Facebook Live sitting down. The company has announced a slew of changes, coinciding with VidCon, most of them aimed towards the creators that use its platform. The most significant is the introduction of live streaming to YouTube's mobile app, allowing users to stream directly from their phones. While YouTube has offered live streams for the past five years -- something the festival circuit has certainly picked up on -- the inability to stream from phones meant that eventually Twitter's Periscope and Facebook's Facebook Live surpassed it in functionality. Currently, the function is only available for a select group of people, including political news show The Young Turks, though the company says it will roll out a wide release "soon."

For its creators, there are some more smaller tweaks, including the ability to delegate comment moderation and an impending tweak to how it deals with infringing accounts, previously dealt with by doling out "strikes" regardless of the infringement. But there is also a new tiered benefits program called YouTube For Creators that gives access to more sophisticated and tailored support and education resources as a channel surpasses one thousand, 10 thousand and 100 thousand subscribers.

YouTube Red announced a further foray into original video series this week, another signal it could be angling to compete with the Netflixes and Hulus of the streaming video world. The service will be renewing three of its original series -- Scare Pewdiepie, Foursome and an as-yet-untitled Smosh film based on its series Part Timers -- and announced six new ones, including its first ever big budget production.

To start with its biggest splash, YouTube Red is introducing a series called Step Up, an episodic dance drama based on the Step Up film series that originally starred Channing Tatum, who has signed on as an executive producer. According to Cnet, Lionsgate will be behind the series' 10 episodes, which will run 45 minutes in length and have a "Hollywood budget."

Of the five additional series, two are slated to be comedies: Rhett & Link's Buddy System, which will star Molly Shannon, Chris Parnell, Page Kennedy and Leslie Bibb; and Dan & Phil Tour Documentary, which is exactly what it sounds like as it follows comedians Dan Howell and Phil Lester on their last world tour. Morgan Spurlock, the documentarian behind Super Size Me, among others, will be one of the minds behind the slightly navel-gazing Vlogumentary, which will focus on "the world of some of YouTube's biggest creators." And there are two more still untitled series: an animated show about paranormal investigators put together by Futurama and Family Guy writer Michael Rowe; and an educational series about human nature created by Michael Stevens.


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