Microsoft is getting involved in live video streaming, through its ownership of LinkedIn. The social network is launching a new LinkedIn Live service to its 600 million users, allowing people to live stream video content. It’s arriving initially as an invite-only beta this week for US users, and it comes nearly 18 months after LinkedIn originally started supporting video.
LinkedIn Live will focus on streaming things like Q&As, events, conferences, earnings calls, awards ceremonies, product announcements, and more. Microsoft is helping support LinkedIn Live through its Azure Media Services, providing the all important encoding technology to seamlessly stream live videos. LinkedIn is also partnering with Wirecast, Switcher Studio, Wowza Media Systems, Socialive, and Brandlive to allow content creators to access experienced broadcasting streaming services.
“Video is the fastest growing format on our platform right now, and the one most likely to get people talking,” says Pete Davies, the director of product management at LinkedIn, in an interview with TechCrunch. “Live has been the most requested feature.” LinkedIn hasn’t yet revealed when it plans to make this new video streaming service available to all 600 million of its users, but the company will accept sign ups through a contact form on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn will now be facing strong competition from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Twitch, and many other services that offer live video streaming services. LinkedIn clearly thinks it can differentiate based on its target audience, and the type of video it will offer. This won’t be the place to watch streamers beat the latest video games, nor will you likely see your friends or colleagues live streaming their personal lives. LinkedIn has always been about professional working life connections, and LinkedIn Live is a clear attempt to corner that niche of the streaming video market.