The Royal Wedding broadcast live on YouTube

The global media event that will be the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton (aka The Royal Wedding) on April 29 will also be a global internet event as the ceremony will be broadcast live on YouTube.

According to Google:

[…] we’re thrilled that the Royal Household has just announced that footage of the entire ceremony will be live-streamed on their official YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/theroyalchannel.

The live stream will begin at 10:00a BST (9:00a GMT, 2:00a PT, 5:00a ET) on Friday, April 29, and will follow the wedding procession, marriage ceremony at Westminster Abbey and balcony kiss. Alongside the live stream, The Royal Channel will also feature live blog commentary of the event to give timely updates and insights as the day unfolds. For those of you in different time zones, the footage will be reshown in its entirety directly following the event and will be available in full on the site to view afterwards.

It’s not only YouTube, either. The Royal Household says:

Live updates and unique material from the wedding of Prince William and Miss Catherine Middleton will be released through a range of online platforms, providing the most digital and interactive coverage of a Royal Wedding to date.

The range of social media around the event will include the Official Royal Wedding website, the British Monarchy Flickr account, Twitter (@ClarenceHouse), The Royal Channel on YouTube and the British Monarchy Facebook page; and is in line with the Couple’s wishes to make the wedding as accessible as possible for as many people as want to participate.

For the first time, broadcast footage of a royal wedding will be live streamed on The Royal Channel on YouTube (www.youtube.com/theroyalchannel), accompanied by a live multi-media blog put together by St. James’s Palace.

The Royal Channel will host a live stream ‘gadget’, produced by Google, which will stream the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton live on the day from 10am until 2pm. This will include the Couple’s journey to and from Westminster Abbey, the Wedding Service, balcony appearance and the fly past.

What’s impressive is the integration of different social media that offers people many online choices in how they can consume content, additional to the traditional ones offered by the mainstream media (TV, radio, print).

As for the live YouTube video of the event itself, they’re doing this in a pretty interesting way:

The feed will be taken from the BBC without a broadcaster’s commentary.  Staff at Clarence House and St. James’s Palace will provide a live commentary with historical information, interesting links, additional photographs and video footage as well as an integrated Twitter feed.  This will be the first time a live blog has run alongside a live stream on YouTube for any occasion.

Does this now make YouTube owner Google a television broadcaster? Perhaps the same as any of the mainstream broadcasters from around the world who will be covering the event, many (at least 40) also taking the BBC’s feed for broadcast over their networks?

Many estimates say the global TV audience potentially is two billion people. That’s one-third of the total world population. And what a logistics operation it all is:

[…] Many outlets will get footage from the BBC, which is spearheading the coverage under deputy director general Mark Byford.

BBC Worldwide has licensed the live feed to 40 broadcasters in 25 territories, with sources saying the Beeb plans to donate the undisclosed fees to charity. The BBC feed also goes to the 61 pubcaster members of the European Broadcast Union and outlets in the 54 Commonwealth countries for free. The Beeb has, by far, the biggest team working the event: 550 staffers — 100 more than at the Beijing Olympics.

It will be the only broadcaster covering the service inside Westminster Abbey, where it will have some 30 cameras, plus 70 camera positions along the ceremonial route from Buckingham Palace to the abbey and at street parties across the country.

"It will be the biggest outside broadcast in London in recent times," says a BBC spokesperson.

And note this:

[…] Another new element is the use of social media and amateur video. "We will look at Facebook and so on for views, news, reactions etc.," says [Jonathan] Munro, deputy editor of "ITV News." "Everybody who’s out there with a mobile phone can be a newsgatherer."

Citizen journalism writ large.

Google again:

[..] While millions will be in London for the big day, it’s clear that people around the world have wedding fever. Google search trends show that in addition to the UK and the US, the top ten countries searching for “royal wedding” include places like Singapore and the Philippines.

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It looks like a disruptive milestone will be marked on April 29 if all anyone needs, anywhere in the world, to see this spectacular event in London as it happens is a connection to the internet.