Facebook and the new era of TV

March 1, 2017

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Facebook has been working hard to prove to broadcasters and publishers that it wants to amplify media, and on Tuesday night it took its first step towards TV.

Facebook has launched a new video app that allows Facebook users to watch friend’s videos and live videos on TV. The app is now available on Samsung Smart TVs, but it will also be available for set-top boxes such as Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV.

However, Facebook’s move towards TV is going to be a slow one. Mark Zuckerberg said on the February Q4 earnings call that “we’re focusing more on shorter form content to start”.

Take note: keywords being “to start”.

Sound Led Video

Facebook has cemented this “start” by announcing the TV app along with other updates like videos playing with the sound on, by default in the News Feed. Luckily, videos will only play with the sound on if your phone is on loud which means we can continue to watch endless Tasty videos or puppy videos in peace.

Watch & Scroll

We will also soon be able to browse our News Feeds and watch videos at the same time, in the form of a little thumbnail that continues to play videos as you scroll.

I assume like the similar feature in the BBC iPlayer and Netflix apps… both of which are giants in the television broadcasting sphere.

This feature has just finished being tested, so expect to see it rolled out very soon.

Closer Connections or More Ad Clutter?

Facebook and the new era of TV

The TV app is going to offer up new content opportunities for businesses and brands. Particularly new live-streaming opportunities, as brands will be able to connect with their audiences when they choose to on the big screen, rather than trying to buy into a television schedule.

Live-streaming is also much cheaper compared to the production of a staged video that we see on TV. Brands who incorporate live-streaming or Facebook video into their digital marketing strategies will be able to take full advantage of the great qualities live-streaming offers to hosts and audiences at the moment.

We are seeing a shift in desired content, from the polished to the authentic. There’s a reason why live video receives three times the amount of engagement that pre-recorded video does. To be honest, brands would be silly to miss out on such a huge opportunity to build more connections with their target audiences. If you don’t believe me these four pointers might convince you.

Although, this new space will certainly be competitive at prime hours so get ready to put up a fight. But, Facebook will help marketing teams out a little as the app will also recommend videos based on interests and most commonly watched, exposing potential new audiences to brands while retaining their regular viewers.

As a Facebook user, imagine being able to cook dinner alongside a “branded content” show from Tasty, or watch live coverage of a sold-out local concert right as it happens, straight from your TV, on your sofa, in PJ’s, with a beer.

I can definitely see the appeal.

The company doesn’t allow for traditional “pre-roll ads” which are popular across the web. But as with traditional TV, will Facebook introduce TV advert breaks in between streams of videos from the TV app?

An Ecosystem of Content

Facebook and the new era of TV

If Facebook are experimenting with video updates and TV apps now, will we begin to see Facebook take over as an online broadcaster for innovative televised content?

I think we can safely say that this is certainly a strategic move to kick-start Facebook into a position to start broadcasting televised content in the future, something Facebook is calling “an ecosystem of partner content”.

Especially since TechCrunch announced back in December that Facebook is also looking into buying its own video content included original shows.

Due to Facebook’s massive pockets, scripted TV shows and similar types of video content may be an easy win as they have the resources to bid against other broadcasters like Amazon, Netflix or Apple.

If the show titles are something to go by we are definitely seeing the development of a new era of TV, including Agggghhhhhhhhhhhhh” and “O.K., So I Don’t Normally Do This, But…” According to The New Yorker, there are set to be at least 9 exciting shows premiering on Facebook TV next summer.

While Facebook claim their first priority is shorter forms of content, this is happening.

Facebook is coming to our televisions. So sit tight and expect to see the new face of Facebook video content very soon.

What are your thoughts on Facebook’s attempts to branch out into televised media? Sound off in the comments below or let us know @HarvestDigital

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