Huan Zhang

Huan Zhang

I write about technology and fintech in particular, thanks to my experience in a wide range of roles including networking, system administration, software development, technical writing, IT strategy and policy advice.
Huan Zhang

This year it’s all about real time live content for Facebook.

Chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg has apparently redirected assets to help build-out Live, the Facebook’s solution for video live streaming.

On the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call, COO Sheryl Sandberg told investors, “We feel pretty confident that real-time sharing is an increasingly important part of the platform and one we’ll continue to invest in.”

Now, Sandberg is apparently in Hollywood schmoozing with expertise brokers in an effort to convince stars to begin using Live. Facebook could even pay a few of them to produce content for the social media platform. The reasoning is that a bigger celebrity presence will attract more focus to Live and help Facebook compete with Twitter’s Periscope and YouTube, a subsidiary company of Google and the Alphabet business.

Something to kindle interest

Video on Facebook has rapidly ballooned from absolutely nothing to on average 8 billion videos views and one hundred million hours per day. Video on Facebook did not really take off, however, till the Ice Bucket Challenge took over the web  in the summer of 2014. Unexpectedly, customers were viewing more video and felt comfortable submitting their very own videos.

Facebook needs something comparable for live videos. The company is apparently pushing live videos higher in users news feeds so they can see the videos as they are being broadcast. Apparently, users can be more prone to watch the live video featuring celebrities that consumers actively follow.

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Live videos already perform better than prerecorded video. Users watch live video more than 3 times longer than pre-recorded videos, according to Facebook. Users are especially intrigued in live content as it is happening, so creating more content and receiving it in front of consumers should help Facebook get mind share from rivals like Periscope.

Smell of money

Facebook released a statement to Re/Code about its plans to court celebrities for Live. The declaration mentioned Facebook will investigate with them potential monetisation models. Investors have been gambling that video content will generate added sales for Facebook, but so far that has not really been the case.

Although the advertiser can spend more for a video ad compared with a stationary ad, Facebook has not developed any ways to directly monetise video views on its system. Developing a means of generating income and share that income with originators ultimately will be the key to bring more originators to Live.

YouTube is now able to hold on and bring new talent due to its revenue sharing program. Although Periscope does not create any sales, it was early to industry and had the help of Twitter to beat early opposition. Twitter might use its Market property, an on-line talent agency for social network celebrities, to monetize much talked about Periscope users.

A marketing option, or alternative form of monetisation, will open the doorways for more originators to experiment with Facebook movies and Live broadcasts. Pay celebrities up front to get content may jump start the attribute, but a sustainable monetisation model is the only thing which will keep it going. The viewers will follow.

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