YouTube has added a ‘Breaking News’ carousel on its list of feeds on the site’s homepage, with links to newly uploaded clips from several news channels, according to a report on Android Police. The feature was first spotted during the Barcelona attack in Spain, where a van plunged into a crowd, killing fifteen people. This has reportedly rolled out on YouTube on mobile as well.
Similarly, YouTube also offers a “Live recommendations” carousel, for when the subject matter isn’t necessarily breaking news. For example, last night, different live-streams of the solar eclipse in the US were listed in this carousel.
In India, there are many news networks that legally stream a live feed of their channels on YouTube — here are a few. There are likely to be the channels that will get surfaced as breaking news on YouTube.
Indian news channels usually have a livestream of their channels on their own websites, but it’s not clear what kind of viewership on those channels have. Take for instance Times Now. Times Now’s website ranks 1723 on Alexa this month, whereas the Times of India — which is also under the Times Group — clocks in at 226.
News channels are also typically syndicated to aggregation apps: for example, Ditto TV has Aaj Tak, India Today, Zee News, Zee Business, 24Ghanta, Raj News 24×7, among others. Many services have their own app as well: for example, the NDTV app integrates live stream. If you’re wondering about where these live streams should be: on YouTube, where they’re likely to get a sliver of a substantially large audience, on aggregation apps, or on their own website or apps, the answer is probably whererever they’re able to monetise their presence on a platform. They might get better yields on their own platform, because they’re able to have greater control over pricing of inventory, but not all news channels can get scale on their own.
For YouTube, at a time when quality content with a higher shelf life is being taken by subscription platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime, news will serve as an audience acquisition tool. News is not what you go to YouTube for as a viewer, and the breaking news carousel should help with forming a new habit for viewers. YouTube has the scale to do that.