Facebook steps up live video service
James R | On 07, Apr 2016
Facebook is stepping up its live video service by several gears this month, with the announcement of a host of new features.
Live-streaming has become the main arena in which the online video giants are battling it out, with the growth of Twitch, Periscope and Meerkat in recent years kicking competition up a notch. Now, the rest of the field is hitting back. Earlier this week, Twitter announced a new partnershp with NFL to stream games live on its social network for free during the new season. Facebook, though, is going even further.
“Live is like having a TV camera in your pocket. Anyone with a phone now has the power to broadcast to anyone in the world,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook page, as the new features were unveiled. “This is a big shift in how we communicate, and it’s going to create new opportunities for people to come together.”
The revolution isn’t an exaggeration: with 1.5 billion users and counting, Facebook has the potential to become a TV network of sorts, with breaking news and birthday parties shared by journalists and jovial family relatives alike. It’s also a big shift in how video services can monetise their streaming content and connect viewers with advertisers – last year, Facebook signalled its intent to get on the branded side of the fence with the launch of live-streaming for celebrities and public figures before rolling out the option to normal punters.
In case you doubted how serious the social network is about this, their new list of features is more than enough to persuade otherwise. The site will soon launch support for live video with its Groups and Events – allowing you to stream to family members or fitness group friends, or use events to schedule a live video Q&A, not to mention stream things specifically to those who have RSVPed to an event (ideal for pre-concert, behind-the-scenes promos).
Facebook is also borrowing a feather from Periscope’s cap, with the launch of Live Reactions, which will use Facebook’s new like, love, wow, etc., to let you provide feedback on a video, with reactions displaying in real time. Comments will also be replayed when videos are watched back later.
Following in Snapchat’s shoes, Live Filters will soon be supported, in addition to letting you draw and doodle on you videos while live.
Facebook remains, at its heart, a sharing platform, and so you will also be able to send an invitation to friends to watch live videos with you – something that will not only increase views of Facebook’s streaming content, but also boost any exposure for advertising partners.
There will also be a Facebook Live Map on desktop computers, so that people in 60 countries can share videos and see what’s happening and streaming around the world.
The social network is well aware of the potential that live video offers – it notes that people comment more than 10 times more on Facebook Live videos than on regular video. It is little surprise, then, that it’s already rolling out its previously announced dedicated video space on Facebook’s mobile apps to let users discover live video from friends, creators and on topics users are interested in. The rest of the features will be rolled out over the coming weeks.