The days of YouTube’s live streaming capabilities being an exclusive feature available only to select partners and non-profits are over.  Today the video site announced that they are opening up YouTube Live to all partners with over 1,000 subscribers and an account in good standing.

Previously, YouTubers could do basic live streaming via Google Hangouts, but the capabilities of YouTube Live will allow creators to take things up a notch (or ten) and create much more professional live streaming content.  According to a post on the YouTube blog, YouTube Live will offer the following features:

  • You can get real-time transcoding in the cloud, so you only need to send us your highest quality stream and we make it instantly available in all resolutions and device formats
  • You can show multiple camera angles, add closed captions, and insert ads and slates
  • Viewers can watch the live stream from any device, get the best quality constantly adjusting to their Internet connection, and can skip back and forth in the live stream

If you’re interested in signing up to get YouTube Live enabled on your channel and you have at least 1,000 subscribers, head over to your Account Features page and look for an “Enable” button where it says ‘Apply to stream live events.”

Should you go live? Well, live streaming does have its benefits. YouTube Product Manager Satyajeet Salgar writes, “Live streaming can bring great experiences to your viewers, create deeper engagement with your fans and build a hyper-engaged audience for your channel.”  He adds, “Over the last year, many YouTube creators have used our live streaming to make their channels a destination for Emmy-winning sports events, amazing music, immersive gaming, engaging talk shows and so much more.”

Earlier this year I interviewed live streaming expert Bern Rexer, who also spoke to the benefits of live streaming. He explained that “live events can be produced easily in one take,” live streaming fosters engagement because “the audience is connected [live] by the event itself,” and live monitoring gives producers the ability to change up their programming based on the engagement and conversation surrounding it.

Of course, it’s important to note that a lot of time goes into planning and pulling off many of the types of live streams that Salgar points out, and Google Hangouts might be enough for the average creator’s purposes.  But Rexer tells me that he thinks enabling YouTubers with over 1,000 subscribers “opens things up considerably and gets a lot more content producers thinking about live production”–something they weren’t doing previously because they simply didn’t have the tools.  It will be interesting to see what creators do with these new capabilities!

You can find out more about YouTube Live works in the YouTube Live Streaming Guide. Oh, and we couldn’t write a post about “doing it live” without a hat tip to Bill O’Reilly, so here ya go!