YouTube: The next ESPN?May 3, 2010: 2:26 PM ET
Google India's success in broadcasting the Cricket Premier League tournament live around the world shows significant possibilities.
The big push so far for TV on the Web has been for static content like movies and TV shows. Hulu, Netflix, Amazon and iTunes all cater to these formats with catalogs of content, much of which was built years ago.
Up-to-the-second news and sports are an entirely different animal from a technology standpoint. Video has to be compressed on the fly, and a stream has to be set up on location and then re-streamed through different servers in different geographic locations. Those servers then need to scale to the popularity of the content.
YouTube's recent live broadcast of the Cricket Premier League tournament was extremely popular, according to the NYTimes. Google had 50 million viewers on its I.P.L channel, which was 25% more than it expected when it signed the deal. 40% of the viewers were those outside of India, which lends to it being a 'global' event.
With this weekend's news that Google will be building TVs with Sony and Intel inside, having live content capabilities on Youtube would be an important differentiator from all of the other Internet-enabled video players out there.
Also, Google (GOOG) knows a thing or two about deriving some revenue from advertising on content. For the tournament, it was able to sign up sponsors around the world including Coca Cola (KO) and HP (HPQ) in India and are likely just ramping up their ad teams for future endeavors.