Live video, from around the world, streaming right through the phone in your hand: that's pretty incredible. It's not science fiction anymore, it's now something that millions of people have experienced.
San Francisco's Justin.tv announced today that almost one and a half million people have downloaded the company's live-video-stream-viewing app to their iPhones in the first month it's been available. From Leo Laporte's This Week in Tech, to the Future of Money conference, to a lot of content I don't care to watch, Justin.tv is definitely getting traction. This isn't the only company fast finding a lot of consumer interest in mobile video streaming, either.
Competitor Ustream made a similar announcement when it hit the iTunes store in January, saying more than one hundred thousand people downloaded that app in its first 24 hours. Ustream has Justin Bieber content, which you may consider an asset or a liability, depending on your perspective. (Personally, I just love Justin Bieber. I know he loves me back and I want him to be a part of my family.)
The point is: People love live streaming video to mobile handsets.
Justin.tv said today that it has made major stability updates to its app (sometimes these things still feel like tin cans with string between them), and added push notifications to alert users when their favorite live shows are broadcasting. The iPhone app already contributes about 20% of the company's total new account sign-ups.
We don't know how many downloads the Ustream app has seen since it first entered the iTunes app store and was featured prominently there, but if we assume that the same one half of one percent of users will have rated the Ustream app as have rated the Justin.tv app, then Ustream would have seen well more than 11 million downloads so far. Presumably if the app had in fact passed 10 million by now, we would have heard about it.
The moral of the story, though, is that live streaming video sent to mobile phones is here and people like it. Live video broadcasting from mobile is much, much less popular of course, but content creation is always less popular than consumption.
It's exciting to imagine how a more mature mobile, live-streaming video market will look. I'm ready to watch all kinds of things happen live on my phone.