YouTube Live Partners Get New Way to Connect With Audiences

YouTube (s GOOG) launched a new feature with select partners that will allow them to stream programming live online. Through a two-day alpha trial with Howcast, Next New Networks, Rocketboom and Young Hollywood, YouTube and its partners will test the capabilities of the live streaming offering.

Vanessa Pappas, VP of Audience and Strategic Partnerships at Next New Networks, says the live streaming capabilities will allow the startup to connect more directly with its audience. As a result, Next New Networks will be showing a lot of behind-the-scenes looks into how their programs are created and the personalities behind those shows. That includes showing off stars from Key of Awesome and Indy Mogul. While the live streaming functionality is currently in alpha testing, Next New Networks expects to do much more with the platform as it evolves.

“I think you’ll see it on a bigger scale and with bigger production values. Right now, we’re working with [YouTube] on basic functionality… But we’re looking forward to seeing how [live streaming] develops on their platform,” Pappas said.

Howcast is also bringing in some behind-the-scenes content, with a program focused on showing off the company’s emerging filmmaker program. But Howcast, true to its name, also has some live how-to content, including a live magic tutorial from celebrity magician Matt Wayne and a cooking tutorial with chef Geoffrey Zakarian in his new restaurant. Shooting live from different environments and under different circumstances is one way the startup is experimenting with the live streaming functionality, according to Daniel Blackman, co-founder and COO of Howcast, told me via phone.

Rocketboom might be the most ambitious of the participating partners, with three semi-scripted shows planned over the two-day test. According to Leah D’Emilio, lead producer at Rocketboom, the startup has spent the last several weeks preparing and rehearsing for its live broadcast. Taking a cue from some broadcast news programs, Rocketboom will editors will be using a switchboard to switch in relevant images, video clips, graphics and transitions in real-time. As a result of all the preparation that Rocketboom is putting into its live programming, D’Emilio said in a phone interview that if YouTube’s live program is extended, the company will probably test out doing one show weekly before expanding to more programming.

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