At VidCon, YouTube and Facebook Go Toe to Toe on Livestreaming

Eager fans poured into the Anaheim Convention Center to meet their idols and check out the latest offerings for the modern-day vlogger from YouTube, Facebook, and more. 

Getty Images / Jason Kempin

VidCon kicked off today with the roar of a thousand eager vloggers, and alongside the offering of possible internet fame (and the chance to meet internet-famous people) the crowd is being treated to the latest news in live streaming from both YouTube and Facebook. While vlogs, vines, and other pre-recorded or edited content still seems to reign supreme in the world of monetized video, both companies have been figuring out ways to lead the charge and move live content to the forefront.

YouTube will likely dot the weekend with big announcements (it is, after all, the primary platform of VidCon) but ahead of that, Facebook gave attendees an early look at what’s to come for its live streaming platform. Facebook Live intends to add some level of professionalism to live entertainment with the offer of a waiting room and pre-scheduled broadcasts. For anyone building an individual brand, this is an exceptionally handy tool when it comes to making sure as much of your audience tunes in as possible.

Facebook Live is also kicking off a feature that directly challenges other platforms like Google Hangouts. After hints from founder Mark Zuckerberg were dropped during a Live Q&A last week, it seems that his wishes are coming true, and remote two-person broadcasts are about to become a reality. Hosts can invite a guest to drop by using a second screen, interview style. The platform is also offering broadcasters the ability to add funny MSQRD masks, which is likely to open a venue for marketers who want to get in on the fun. YouTube’s live streaming offerings are slightly less impressive, but the weekend is hardly over. For it’s first day, YouTube announced that it is opening its mobile live streaming app to a select few for beta testing.

The audience (and the talent) is definitely interested, but the proof — both good and bad — is in the pudding. While Meerkat took a nose-dive next to the much more popular Periscope last year, the latter company is still struggling to keep content makers and their audiences engaged enough to stay. Even in its moment of glory during yesterday’s Democratic sit-in, Periscope still found a competitor in Facebook Live, where many politicians decided to broadcast.

In that sense, YouTube and Facebook, with a supply of creators that constantly post content as it stands, both have something of an upper hand on engagement. What they do with it, and these new features, is yet to be seen.