YouTube Planning Its Own Variety Show

YouTube Live! is first program to be streamed on the site
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YouTube is planning a live event Saturday, Nov. 22 at 8 p.m. ET. YouTube Live! as it is being called, will be held at San Francisco’s Herbst Pavilion (with a satellite event in Tokyo) and streamed live across the globe via a dedicated channel on the Google owned video site. The event will be the first program ever to be streamed on YouTube, though assuming it is successful it will not likely be the last.

The event is described by YouTube as “equal parts concert, party and variety show,” and will bring musicians, comedians, athletes and others that have gone “viral” on the site under one roof.

“For me, when I was growing up, I was always fascinated by cultural trends, when I was growing up I looked at MTV and ESPN, where all those cultural trends emerged,” Chris Di Cesare, head of marketing for YouTube, told B&C. “Now a lot of people see YouTube as that place where cultural trends emerge, it has a lot of those similar parallels today.”

Di Cesare said the company also considered taking the event to a network, creating a television variety show with web roots.

“There was always talk [at YouTube], ‘should you do this as a TV show, an awards show?’” Di Cesare says.

“While there was definitely interest from cable networks and broadcast networks, by having it take place on YouTube, we can stick to where the entertainment actually takes place.”

Among those appearing will be Katy Perry, Will.i.am, Soulja Boy and Akon, as well as Discovery’s Mythbusters.

There has also been a rumor floating around tech sites that YouTube would use YouTube Live! to launch a new product or service (such as a live streaming service ala UStream or Justiv.tv). While that is yet to be seen, Di Cesare says the event is meant to stand on its own.

“[YouTube Live!] is not about launching a new service, it is about celebrating YouTube as a cultural event,” he says.

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