YouTube’s vertical streams mix “the power of Live and the discoverability of the Shorts feed”

By 02/08/2024
YouTube’s vertical streams mix “the power of Live and the discoverability of the Shorts feed”

YouTube‘s live streams are no longer limited to a horizontal aspect ratio. A recent update on the Creator Insider channel introduces Vertical Live, a new format that is integrated into the Shorts feed.

Rene Ritchie, who has served as YouTube’s Creator Liasion since 2022, discussed Vertical Live in a conversation with Sherry Lin, who serves as Product Manager for YouTube Live. Lin explained that YouTube is bringing streams into the Shorts feed to provide more visibility for live creators. “In the past, the more casual, live, off-the-cuff streams competed on the homepage against much more produced videos,” Lin said. “It was just kind of incongruous and you couldn’t quite get that visibility.”

Now, Lin says, those casual streamers will get “the views that we think they deserve.” Viewers who scroll through their Shorts feed will occasionally encounter a “big grey button” that, when tapped, will begin playing a live broadcast. To make their streams eligible for Shorts feed distribution, creators only need to go live in a vertical orientation, which is the default option on the Creation tab.

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Creators who go Vertical will still be able to employ YouTube’s live monetization features, including Super Chat, Super Stickers, and Memberships. Vertical Live streams can be saved for VOD-style replays (just like on the horizontal version of YouTube Live).

Vertical Live is the latest tool that supports creators who adopt the “multiformat” approach YouTube has been pushing for several years. Last year, the leading video hub rolled out a “related links” feature that also forged connections between long-form videos, Shorts, and live streams.

The lucrative nature of some vertical, live trends may have also been on YouTube’s mind as it integrated its streams into the Shorts feed. Vertical Live broadcasts won’t just increase viewership; they also add more earnings potential to YouTube streams.

Lin also noted that generative AI could eventually bring more improvements to YouTube’s live infrastructure. “In terms of easing the barriers to creation,” Lin said, “and also making it so much easier to have really high production value at a super accessible entry point, that’s what I’m super excited for.”

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