Yahoo launched its live streaming service Yahoo Live today, the first major internet company to enter the live streaming space against startups like Justin.tv, Blogtv, Mogulus and others, and the results can be seen in the screenshot above. If we were putting together a report card on Yahoo Live, day one would simply read FAIL.
The idea of Yahoo getting into live streaming isn’t a bad one. The space is a logical vertical for the big players to be in, and there’s been rumors for some time that Google might soon offer a similar service on YouTube. The implementation isn’t rocket science; live video needs bandwidth and solid servers, something the little players are already doing. Yahoo Live isn’t a bad effort, but it lacks some of the obvious value adds of competitors such as the ability to record shows, so in theory it should take less to run…and yet it came crashing down miserably.
Worst still is in the intermittent times it was up, most shows didn’t have huge numbers. I saw one show with 150 people, and Kevin Rose only managed 80 when I tuned in. Consider that top shows on other sites regularly do 400-500 and never skip a beat, so Yahoo’s server loads would be significantly less than competing sites.
If Yahoo cant scale something like this (no matter how much they claim it’s an experiment, it’s still a live service), it shows how far the once brightest star of the online world has fallen, and that perhaps Microsoft could certainly do no worse, and may even help Yahoo. The first thing Microsoft needs to do is send in some smart engineers who understand scaling, and who knows, Yahoo Live Live might have a strong future :-)