SAN FRANCISCO, US - SUPERSTAR video-sharing website YouTube is giving online talent a real-world stage this month with a live combination concert-party-variety show.
YouTube's first foray into live shows comes as the Google-owned Internet firm tries to cash in on its popularity by letting advertisers 'sponsor' videos and bid on key words people use for searches at the website.
YouTube Live will take place November 22 in Fort Mason Centre near San Francisco's famed Fisherman's Wharf.
'For nearly three years the YouTube community has been defining pop-culture and in the process has made the site both a place to find and be found,' said YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley.
'YouTube at its core is a platform where everyone from the famous to the seemingly unknown shares a single stage and YouTube Live is a physical manifestation of this idea.'
The two-hour event will begin at 5.00pm (9.00am Singapore time, Nov 23) and will be streamed for viewing worldwide online at youtube.com/live.
YouTube Live is to feature amateur performances, celebrity guests, and original videos and is intended to be 'a celebration of all things YouTube', the firm said on its website.
Grammy Award-winning musician Will.i.am is to be part of a line-up that will include 'Internet-born stars' such as Soulja Boy Tell'em, Esmee Denters, and Funtwo.
A team from popular Discover Channel show MythBusters will display one of their explosion experiments aimed at testing blast-oriented urban legends.
A Vlog Squad of video bloggers will stream backstage reports during the event.
'YouTube users have been gathering informally for years, but this is the first time that YouTube is officially leaping off screens with a live community celebration,' the California company said.
Backers of the show include Activision, Lionsgate and Virgin America.
Activision will provide Guitar Hero World Tour videogame kiosks for attendees, while Lionsgate will use the YouTube platform to generate online buzz about some of the Hollywood studio's coming films.
Virgin America flights will bring in 'YouTube celebrities' from around the United States and the airline plans an 'in-flight event' complementing the live show.
YouTube on Wednesday revealed a 'Sponsored Videos' platform that lets advertisers promote selected videos and bid for search words that cause their offerings to be displayed along with search results.
Technology supplied by online advertising king Google will target sponsored videos depending on YouTube users' queries and charge based on how often video links are clicked on by viewers.
Auctioning keywords and charging 'per click' for targeted ads is the basis of Google's winning online search advertising formula.
Google has been trying to figure ways to squeeze money from YouTube since buying it for US$1.65 billion (S$2.5 billion) worth of stock in 2006. YouTube hasn't turned a profit since it launched in February of 2005.
Google has been moving slowly to 'monetise' YouTube out of concern it might irk notoriously transient Internet surfers who could easily switch to rivals such as Hulu, MySpace, Revver, Veoh or DailyMotion. -- AFP