In January, When YouTube had signed its first international sports streaming deal, gaining multi-year rights to broadcast the Indian Premiere League’s 45-day cricket tournament worldwide. We’re now closing in on the conclusion of the tournament — the finals begin on Sunday morning — and YouTube has shared some initial stats.
Right now, YouTube’s IPL channel has over 49.5 million views. That far exceeds the company’s internal expectations: we’re told that their stretch goal was to get 10 million views over the course of the tournament. Viewers from 200 countries have watched the streams. Unsurprisingly, India has the most views overall; coming in second is the United States — YouTube had expected that spot to go to the UK or Australia, where cricket gets far more attention.
When the IPL deal was first signed it granted YouTube live streaming rights for every country except for the United States, where matches have been posted fifteen minutes after they ended. However, YouTube is streaming both the semi-finals and finals live (we’re told YouTube’s biz dev people worked “around the clock” to make that happen). All of which means the final view tally is going to be way more than 10
When the first ball of this year’s Indian Premier League cricket season is bowled, fans across the planet will have a front row seat in the world’s biggest online sports stadium. Tonight the Deccan Chargers and Kolkata Knight Riders will face off in Mumbai at 8pm IST, and the YouTube global community will be able to tune in to the IPL’s YouTube Channel (www.youtube.com/ipl) for streaming and on-demand access to witness the start of what promises to be one of the most widely-distributed sporting events in history. Fans can watch matches, highlight videos, player interviews and much more all on the IPL’s YouTube channel.
Named by Forbes as the “hottest sports league in the world” with revenues comparable to the world’s most popular leagues, the IPL season is a 60-match, 43-day tournament that features some of the best talent in cricket today. You can come to YouTube and keep up with the action any time, anywhere and connect with fans across the globe. Watch as the match happens, or if you missed a match, tune in later to see what happened. The entire season will be streamed around the world on YouTube, except in the US, where matches will be time-delayed and made available 15 minutes after the match ends.
On the IPL Channel, you’ll see three tabs:
Today’s Matches: This is where you can watch streamed matches as they happen. (Note that the stream will be delayed by a few minutes.) Click through at any time to see the match scorecard.
Recent Matches: Catch up any time on the full action of matches that have already happened. Watch Sachin cream the ball through the covers, Warney taking his latest wicket and more.
Highlights: If you’re short on time, check in here for short videos of player interviews, match highlights, greatest plays and more.
And for all of you who want to cheer or commiserate with others, check out our Twitter gadget on the channel page to be part of the conversation. You can keep up with the discussion on Twitter with the YouTube IPL hashtag (#youtube_ipl). Share, rate and comment on videos throughout the channel, or upload your own video responses to the action. There’s also a link so you can join the Official DLF IPL community on Orkut (www.orkut.com/ipl).
We’ll be watching the donkey drops, the five-fers, the flippers and floaters, the half-yorkers and slow sweeps — and cheering alongside you!
* A googly is a kind of pitch similar to a baseball pitch or a bowling throw in the game cricket; a wicked googly would be a really good pitch.
Posted by Amit Agarwal, Strategic Partner Development Manager, YouTube
Mobile phones are rapidly becoming essential tools for surfing the web, connecting with friends, and sharing and watching video online, and we’re seeing these effects at YouTube. The YouTube mobile site is more popular than ever: site traffic grew by over 160% in 2009, and now millions of people all over the world are streaming tens of millions of videos every day on their mobile phones. The mobile space moves fast, so we’ve been working hard to roll out new features and functionality quickly, especially as more and more people adopt YouTube-capable phones.
The increased usage of high-end devices like the iPhone and Android is also making mobile advertising easier and more effective for advertisers. So today, we’re launching ads on the home, search and browse pages of the American and Japanese YouTube mobile websites (m.youtube.com from your mobile browser). This is a great way for advertisers to reach YouTube viewers across multiple platforms. In fact, at launch YouTube will immediately provide one of the largest audiences for a mobile ad campaign anywhere on the mobile web. And because YouTube mobile attracts early adopters, the site can deliver to advertisers a coveted demographic of tech savvy trendsetters. We’ve already seen some early campaigns run on YouTube’s mobile site by advertisers like Sony (for the DVD release of “District 9”) and Kia, both of whom were able to easily reach their target audience, no matter where they were looking for video.
Our first tests of YouTube mobile ads — with brands ranging from L’Oreal to Land Rover — showed strong results related to click-throughs, user experience and brand awareness, and we’ve learned a lot in the months since then. As a result, ads on the YouTube mobile website will be banner ads sold on a full-day basis (like with the YouTube homepage on the web), making a mobile buy an easy and valuable addition to any YouTube campaign. For example, today Mazda is running a homepage ad on YouTube.com, and extended their campaign to run ads on our mobile site as well.
If you’re interested in learning more, reach out to your YouTube or Google sales rep, or visit youtube.com/advertise.
Posted by Taylor Cascino, Strategic Partner Development Manager
YouTube’s office in San Bruno, where the company is holding a press conference to discuss the launch of auto-captions. YouTube Director of Product Management Hunter Walk kicked off the event by discussing some of YouTube’s goals through the years — one of which is accessibility.
Walk said that a few years ago, accessibility meant giving users more ways to access their content (for example, through their mobile phones). Now, the company is focusing more on making its content accessible to even more people. Google software engineer Ken Harrenstein then took the stage to walk through some of YouTube’s initiatives on this front.
Harrenstein walked us through YouTube’s past feature launches, including the launch of captions and subtitles. In November of last year, the company began to roll out auto-captions on a limited scale, which use speech recognition to automatically transcribe what’s said in a video. And now, it’s going to enable the feature for all videos uploaded to YouTube where English is spoken.
This makes the videos accessible not just to deaf people, but also to viewers around the world, who can translate any video that’s in English to another language. However, Harrenstein took time to point out that the captioning isn’t perfect, showing how the words “SIM card” got transcribed to “salmon”.
Here are some of the details for uploading videos:
While we plan to broaden the feature to include more languages in the months to come, currently, auto-captioning is only for videos where English is spoken.
Just like any speech recognition application, auto-captions require a clearly spoken audio track. Videos with background noise or a muffled voice can’t be auto-captioned. President Obama’s speech on the recent Chilean Earthquake is a good example of the kind of audio that works for auto-captions.
Auto-captions aren’t perfect and just like any other transcription, the owner of the video needs to check to make sure they’re accurate. In other cases, the audio file may not be good enough to generate auto-captions. But please be patient — our speech recognition technology gets better every day.
Auto-captions should be available to everyone who’s interested in using them. We’re also working to provide auto-captions for all past user uploads that fit the above mentioned requirements. If you’re having trouble enabling them for your video, please visit our Help Center here.
Google researcher Mike Cohen then took the stage to talk about Google’s Speech Technology. The ultimate vision, he says, is to provide accurate captions for all videos in all languages. But that comes with many problems, including a massive vocabulary, issues with poor recordings and background noise, and accents. And every language comes with its own unique challenges.
YouTube hasn’t yet run all of its videos through the new transcription service, but video owners will be able to manually request that their older videos get transcribed more quickly through each video’s options screen.
Harrenstein, who is deaf, retook the stage to tell a personal story. When he was at MIT, he didn’t go to many of his lectures because he was unable to understand the lectures (which weren’t signed). Now, he can watch MIT lectures on YouTube, with captioning enabled.
Next, some students from the California School for the Deaf in Fremont, and their instructor Joey Baer, took the stage to thank YouTube for the launch. Check out their enthusiasm in the video below. Really, this is quite amazing.