Facebook Expands its Live Streaming Video Feature

23 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Facebook Expands its Live Streaming Video Feature.

Facebook has spent a lot of time and resources over the past year beefing up its video capabilities, and one aspect of that is its Live feature, which originally allowed celebrities and verified accounts to stream live video. Facebook says it now gets around 8 billion video views on its platform each day, and the social network has made no secret of its plans to make it an even bigger part of the experience in the future.

Facebook automatically notifies anyone who has recently interacted with a page or subscribed to the page’s live video updates when the page owner goes live, and any concluded live stream is being posted as a regular video on the page in question. Currently, clicking not just on the words — which appear in a place where they will be hard to miss, centered in the bottom, just above the video controls — but anywhere on the video will take users to a new window.

The service first became available to celebrities thus summer, and Facebook has also been testing it with a few verified page publishers, including The Tonight Show, U2 and AJ+. Now T-Mobile, Nike, Ford, NBC, the Golden State Warriors, and other savvy businesses will be able to talk to you live — because we all know conversing with our favorite brand rocks. Earlier this month, Facebook began to open up Live to a small subset of its US-based iPhone users, with the goal of eventually making it available to everyone. The Live feature was first available in August, to users of the social network’s Mentions app, which was designed to allow celebrities and those with large Facebook followings to broadcast messages to their fans.

Facebook has confirmed to us that this is the web-based test it alluded to when it announced in October that it would start to test new video experiences. (The October announcement was mainly focused around new video features in iOS, as well as a recap of some of the other work Facebook had been doing in 360 immersive video and live videos. But a possible concern among marketers is that the traffic and focus wouldn’t be about the brand, but the individual that’s streaming it — like I would be the focus, instead attention being paid to VentureBeat. Brands are already using Periscope and Meerkat to tell their stories; just this week, in fact, Hulu provided a live stream from its office on Meerkat.

Users can also click a “subscribe” button and be notified the next time a specific page or user goes live with video. “Select Live Video and write a quick description before going live. Facebook’s interest in growing video (possibly sometimes by hook or by crook) seems to be two-fold: first, it will increase engagement and time spent on the platform. If it can prove its streams do more for broadcasters than Periscope’s, it could get celebrity interviews, breaking news, and crazy publicity tricks pumped into its network. During your broadcast, you’ll see the number of viewers, the names of other verified people or Pages who are tuning in, and a real-time stream of comments.

Whereas people today may dip in just to check on what’s new in their feed or what their friends are posting, having more videos might help them linger for longer, or become a reason to visit Facebook in itself (more on that below). When you end your broadcast, it will be published on your Timeline so that fans who missed it can watch the video at a later time.” Facebook’s moves into video pose a potential threat to a number of existing players in the field, including YouTube and Periscope, the live-streaming app that Twitter acquired that has become popular with users as a way to stream breaking news. Jason Stein, who also noticed the feature appear a few weeks ago, makes an interesting guess that the format you see when you click through to the bigger video experience could be Facebook’s template for a future Apple TV app.

The platform will be building channels that center around what friends of users are sharing, topics that might be of their interest or from Pages they have liked. It’s also in keeping with another test the company is doing, of a dedicated video feed where content is divided up into “channels” based around areas such as what friends are sharing, specific subjects or Pages you’ve liked. But just because people are spotting “Click for more” — and possibly clicking for more, as Facebook suggests they do — doesn’t mean that everyone is happy. With YouTube coming out with YouTube Red to get closer to television and looking for more exclusive content, Facebook is basically trying to get the crumbs of what YouTube is leaving behind.

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