Update: It looks like the live stream was only available during the election coverage, and both news channels have discontinued it. Also, a note from UTV suggests that UTV Stars is also available live on YouTube. One of our readers pointed out that Kaatyayani TV, a devotional channel, is also available as a live stream on YouTube.
Earlier: Hindi news channels Star News and Aaj Tak, have extended their Live TV feeds to YouTube via their dedicated channels on the video sharing site. While the two networks had been offering live feeds on their respective websites, the YouTube channels were mainly restricted to video clips of bulletins and events. The development comes on the day of the State Election results, when a large number of viewers are expected to tune in. We’ve not heard of Indian tv channels offering a live stream on YouTube. And the only live event being streamed live on the site was the IPL.
We don’t know if it’s just for the election day or would be a permanent fixture, but we discovered it through an (unsolicited) SMS sent by Star News from the mobile number +918595027833, asking us to tune in to their YouTube stream. While checking for other channels on the site, we discovered that even Aaj Tak was offering a live feed. In fact, Aaj Tak’s stream for elections has been featured on YouTube’s front page under Spotlight, and appeared on YouTube’s mobile version as well.
Interestingly, the Star News live feed on YouTube does not feature any advertisements, while its TV feed does. However, Aaj Tak’s feed on YouTube mirrored its TV feed. We wonder why Aaj Tak was not offering an ad-free feed. It might also be possible that there’s a different arrangement between the network and YouTube. We also found that Aaj Tak’s feed was a little buggy, returning errors.
In our experience, we found that a lot of live TV streams, offered via respective websites, require proprietary players and plug-ins. For instance, both Aaj Tak and Headlines Today, require Microsoft’s Silverlight. Moving to a more standard platform, such as YouTube, will enhance accessibility, and will also allow mobile users to tune-in. In addition to that, it can open up a new revenue stream for news channels.