Product features

YouTube Live Streaming & Premieres

YouTube Live

Before hosting your live event on YouTube, you’d need to have a YouTube channel up and running. If you haven’t done so already, follow these steps to create a new channel (you’ll need a Google account).

For a step-by-step guide, download the Digital Events Playbook in your language.

YouTube Live Streaming

YouTube Live is an easy way to reach your community in real time. Whether you’re streaming an event, teaching a class, or hosting a workshop, YouTube has tools that will help you manage your stream and interact with viewers in real time.

Plan ahead for your first live stream. Enabling a live stream for the first time may take up to 24 hours. Once enabled, your stream can instantly go live.

You can live stream on YouTube via webcam, mobile, and encoder streaming. Webcam and mobile are considered great options for beginners and allow you to go live quickly. While encoder streaming is ideal for more advanced live streams.

Discover how to go live on YouTube:

  • Webcam: Live streaming via webcam is an easy way to go live without the need for an encoder. Start streaming from your laptop/desktop computer using your webcam. Anyone with a YouTube channel can livestream from webcam. Learn more.
  • Mobile: Streaming on mobile lets you stream live from the YouTube app. YouTube Live is available on Android 5.0+ and iOS 8+. To be able to live stream on mobile, your channel will need to have at least 1,000 subscribers. Learn more.
  • Encoder streaming: Encoders allow you to capture content, including your desktop, camera, microphone, and more, and send it to YouTube Live to be streamed to your audience. Learn more.

When your stream is live, you can interact with your audience using live chat, and share the link to your live stream across social media platforms using YouTube’s SHARE tool. Be sure to use the YT Live chat tools and have moderators available as best fits your resources. All streams under 12 hours will be automatically archived. You can access previous, current, and upcoming streams in the Live Tab on your YouTube Studio dashboard.

All content in live streams must adhere to YouTube’s Community Guidelines and Terms of Service. If a user suggests that they will live stream content that violates our Community Guidelines, we may age-restrict or remove the live stream. YouTube also reserves the right to restrict a user’s ability to live stream at its discretion.

Learn more about live streaming on YouTube in our Help Center.

Premieres

YouTube Premieres lets you and your viewers watch and experience a new video together. It's like a movie or TV show premiere. Premiering your video lets you schedule a video upload and create a public watchpage that you can share in advance of the premiere.

Unlike a YouTube Live stream, where you can use a webcam, mobile device, or an encoder, Premieres can only be created using a computer, but viewers can watch the premiere on any platform like computer, iOS, Android, and mWeb.

Steps to Premiere a new video:

  1. Click Upload, or visit youtube.com/upload.
  2. Select your video to upload and enter video details. Note: 360/vr180 or an output greater than 1080p isn’t supported for Premieres
  3. On the “Preview & publish” tab, check the box next to “Set as a Premiere”.
  4. Choose between “Start immediately” and “Schedule for a later date”. If scheduling for later, select the date and time of your premiere.
  5. Select Done to complete the upload process.

Once a premiere is scheduled, a shareable and public watch page is created. This page shows the video metadata, including title, description, and thumbnail.

Before the premiere starts your audience can interact through Comments and Live Chat on the public watch page. Your video will eventually premiere on this watch page. Your audience can choose to get notifications for your Premiere - a tune-in notification around 30 minutes before the start of your premiere, and a second notification at the start of your premiere. You can interact with your audience in comments and live chat.

When the premiere starts a countdown will show during the first 2 minutes of the premiere. When the countdown is over, viewers watch the video together in real-time. Viewers can't scrub forward, but they can scrub backwards during the stream. The concurrent viewers count shows the number of viewers watching. You can interact with your audience in comments and live chat. You can also interact in Super Chat when it's turned on.

When the premiere is over the video remains on your channel as a regular upload. After the premiere, the countdown won’t be included in your video. Chat replay is available for viewers who want to experience the premiere chat after it has ended. You can turn off chat at any time.

Learn more about Premieres in our Help Center.

Monetization

To monetize your live stream or Premiere, your channel needs to be part of the YouTube Partner Program (YPP).

See our Help Center for an overview of the available features, criteria for joining, application checklist, and some FAQs around monetizing on YouTube.

If you are part of the YouTube Partner Program, there are a few ways you can earn money from live streams and Premieres: Ads, Super Chat and Super Stickers, and Channel Memberships (previously sponsorships).

Ads: Channels with monetization setup on YouTube will be able to serve automatic pre-roll ads during a Premiere. Midroll ads are not available during Premieres. Once a Premiere is over, both automatic pre-roll ads and mid-roll ads will work as they do on regular uploads.

Super Chat and Super Stickers: Super Chat and Super Stickers are fun, interactive ways viewers can connect with you during a live stream or Premiere. Viewers can purchase Super Chats and Super Stickers to make their messages stand out during the live chat. In order for viewers to be able to purchase Super Chats and Super Stickers, you will have to turn on this feature in YouTube Studio. Learn more.

Channel memberships: Channel memberships allow viewers to join your channel through monthly recurring payments and get members-only perks like badges, emoji, and other goods you offer. Your members can stand out with their channel level perks such as custom emoji and badges during live chat, members-only videos, members-only live streams and more. Learn more.

Learn more about monetization in our Help Center.

Promotion

Whether hosting a YouTube live stream or a Premiere, promoting an event can help you attract a larger audience. Here are some quick tips to help you get started.

Promote your YouTube live stream:

Before the event you can:

  • Create a channel trailer or teaser video to promote the event.
  • Share your streaming link at least 48 hours before you go live.
  • Connect your social media accounts to your channel for easy sharing.
  • Create a custom post for your subscribers and social media sites. The message will post, including the event link, when the Public event goes live.
  • In the Stream Now experience, share the persistent link across social media. youtube.com/user/[channelname]/live
  • Embed the URL on your website and send the links to blogs which may want to display your content.
  • Create a Live Section to display upcoming and live events on your channel.
  • Add an Associated Website. This will help us improve the quality of search results and verify your channel as the official representation of your brand on YouTube.
  • Apply optimization techniques to your channel and videos.

During the event you can:

  • Feature the event for new visitors to your channel.
  • Create highlight clips of the event while it's still live.
  • You can also update your channel art to include the event name, date and time.

After the event you can:

  • Post an archive of the live event soon after the completion.
  • Organize the archive and highlight clips into playlists.

Promote your Premiere:

  • Have clear metadata about the video.
  • Make a custom thumbnail. This thumbnail is the main image viewers see when they visit the watch page.
  • Tease the video. Share the watch page URL in a community post or on social networks.
  • Make an appearance. Let the viewers know in the comments if you’ll be there during the Premiere to chat.
  • Respond directly to someone in chats by typing "@" and their username.