Facebook Inc Live video is rising to prominence as a powerful tool for sharing the news in the same way that Twitter came to limelight in 2009. Last week, Live was used heavily to broadcast events during the failed military coup in Turkey. A couple of weeks back, Live provided real-time coverage of the events leading to the fatal police shooting of Philando Castile. Facebook Inc already dominates the Internet but it seems that Mark Zuckerberg won’t rest until his firm dominates the TV.
Zuckerberg’s firm launched Live feature in 2015 to provide users with a tool for streaming live video. Now, the firm has quietly made some major changes to how Live works in order push its functionality into how news is recorded and broadcast.
New features turn Facebook Live to TV
One of the major changes that Facebook made to Live is the introduction of a full screen mode that removes comments on mobile devices. Before now, viewers of Live videos had to watch videos side by side with a comments feed where people can drop live comments about what’s playing on screen. Now, the person broadcasting the video and viewers have an option to disable comments during Live streams in order to enjoy a “distraction-free” viewing experience.
Activating the “video only” model will allow Live videos to play in full screen in both the landscape and portrait modes to mimic the full-screen experience of TVs. The best part is that “Video only” mode now lasts up to four hours instead of the maximum of one and a half hours.
Rising popularity of Live could open doors to video ads dollars
Facebook still lags behind Google in video (read video ads) but the growing popularity of Live might bridge that gap much faster. When the firm introduced Live last year, it hired celebrities and publications to make Live videos in order to generate interest in the product. The Wall Street Journal reports that the firm spent about $50M to get the likes of “Star Trek” actor George Takei, Michael Phelps and The Rock to shoot videos to promote live.
A survey by Business Insider shows that the $50M was money well spent because Live is starting to attract viewers. According to the results of the survey, 50% of respondents have watched about 10 Live videos in real time. 7 out of 10 people say they have watched replay of live videos in their news feeds. The rising popularity of Live could also provide Facebook with a great entryway into the world of video ads.
However, Facebook still has much work ahead if it wants Live to dominate video in the same way that Messenger and WhatsApp have dominated chats. For instance, about 9 out of 10 respondents admitted that they’ve not made a Live video themselves.
Interestingly, 40.5% of respondents said that they are most likely to make a live stream broadcast on Facebook than on other social media platforms. However, Facebook’s place is not secure because 35.7% of respondents said they’ll rather make a live video on Snapchat. As strange as it might sound, only 16% of respondents are interested in making a live video on YouTube.