Last week the MyDamnChannel network on YouTube launched the first ever LIVE Internet comedy show. Every Wednesday at 4pm Rachael Hoyt goes live online on their YouTube channel to stream a show that features celebrity guests, premiere clips of other shows on the network, humor, and some audience interaction. On every other weekday the show is only 10 minutes long and features other hosts from their network of channels.
MyDamnChannel Live: A Successful Live Web Show Formula?
To give you an idea of the live show content, here’s an archived recording of their show from yesterday:
The Good – Live Show Leverages Popular Network Creators
It’s a really good way for all the different channels on the MyDamnChannel network to cross-pollenate their audiences. By using hosts who are content creators for the network and playing clips from other channels and shows, it brings their network of channels together in a cohesive way. Viewers will watch the live show because one of their favorite YouTubers is hosting it that weekday and thus the viewer is then introduced to other YouTubers on the same network.
The Problem: Why It May Not Work Long-Term
I watched the live shows last week and, to be honest, the concept is solid, but I don’t see it lasting long term. Why? A few reasons.
Live shows with programed content works on TV because we’re used to a medium that has no way to interact with the host nor others in the audience. It’s really a one-way, broadcasting medium: TV host to the mass audience. Taking that one-way style show and moving it to the Internet won’t work long-term because YouTube and social media in general is natively a two-way medium. People go back and forth and interact when they choose and keep an ongoing discussion. One of the reasons why there’s an audience on YouTube in the first place is because it provides a level of engagement that people can’t enjoy through TV: community and interaction, when they want and how they want.
Furthermore, a live show on the Internet must to do something that a regular posted video on YouTube can’t do. It has to be different in some way. Otherwise, we’ll just wait and watch the video recording of the live show sometime later at our convenience. Why rush home to watch something live when it will feel exactly the same when we watch it the next day? And worse yet, if it mostly feels like just a promo show for other shows, we may not watch it at all.
Live Web Shows vs. Posted Videos
What can a live show online do that a regular posted video can’t do? Only one thing: provide an opportunity for the audience to interact with people they love. That’s what must be capitalized on for a live show to viable long-term on the Internet because no other medium can provide this. The only alternative to a live, interactive experience with a YouTube creator involves hopping on an airplane to go meet them somewhere.
Don’t Just go Live, Create a Shared Video Experience
While I really love the concept behind MyDamnChannel’s live comedy show and some of the limited audience interaction they have, they’re going to have to move the focus away from promoting their content and talking to an audience of people and start talking directly with viewers as individuals.
In my opinion, for a live show to work, it’s going to have to be more about answering questions, telling stories, laughing together, risking vulnerability, and solidifying those parasocial relationships with fans as a shared experience, not just a live event.
Question: What do you think the future is for live video shows and how can creators best leverage this medium?