Live video streaming on the Web is finally going mainstream. Livestream, the NYC-based live video streaming startup, just landed a one-year partnership with the Associated Press to power all of the AP’s live video streams on the Web. The first event to be streamed live under the new deal will be video from the red carpet at the Oscars this Sunday.
The video will be hosted by Livestream at APLive, where viewers can log in to chat with their Twitter or Facebook IDs. It will also be available on Facebook, where viewers will have to become a fan of APLive in order to watch. (APLive only has 1,271 fans right now).
The Oscars will be the first of many live video events Livestream will power for the AP. Under the deal, Livestream and the AP split revenues associated with the APLive video. Revenues can come from licensing (AP-affiliated publishers can embed the video on their news sites) or advertising (partners can embed the video for free with the APLive branding, which comes with pre-roll plus overlay ads sold by the AP and Livestream jointly). Consumers and fans can embed the APLIve player for free on their blogs or Facebook pages as long as less than 500 people watch concurrently from any one page.
Livestream is seeing significant growth in live video viewership overall. In February, it streamed 1.1 billion unique viewer minutes, compared to 650 million last August (or nearly double in six months). CEO Max Hoat says Livestream is showing videos to 17.5 million people a month across its embedded player network, with 3 million of those on its own Website. Other partners include ESPN, NPR, Fox, Scripps, and National Geographic. Its biggest competitor, Ustream, is also growing rapidly and just closed a massive funding round.
Will this be the year live video on the Web goes legit? Livestream recently issued a public challenge to its competitors to do more to fight piracy on their networks. It is clearly gunning for mainstream, and media company, acceptance.