It’s the latest move in the streaming battle, with Twitter, Amazon and YouTube all working to provide the best, web-based TV service in order to attract more advertiser interest.
And the addition of college basketball is definitely a big one – while various reports have shown that overall college basketball TV ratings have fallen in recent years (outside of March Madness), the recent Duke v Michigan State Champions Classic game attracted over 3 million viewers, significantly up on last year. There’s also the added allure of seeing the next crop of future NBA stars, which has increased somewhat in recent times due to a widening gap between the good and bad teams in the professional league.
Facebooks slate of college games is a mixture of Big Ten, Pac-12 and ACC Coastal Division, so they should be able to attract plenty of attention, while Facebook will also air a new weekly live show on college basketball to compliment the games themselves.
Sports are a key battleground in the ongoing live-stream battle. While more and more people are turning to on-demand video services, sports fans want to see the action live, and live sports content remains a consistent ratings winner. And while the matches most online platforms have aired thus far have not been premium offerings (e.g. both Twitter and Amazon have aired Thursday night NFL matches), if the platforms can show that there’s an audience desire for streaming sports content, that could lead to more sporting organizations dedicating more of their time to those platforms.
Twitter’s actually taken a more diverse approach to this, airing a wide range of sports content - including lacrosse and eSports – in order to maximize attention with a broader set of niche audiences, thereby enabling them to monetize various groups, rather than focusing on one main sport. If the platforms can work with evolving viewing behaviors, and show the major leagues that they can, in fact, generate audience, and income, from streaming, that could be a big win in future.
Also on the Facebook video front, they’re experimenting with new video tags that can help lead viewers to what they want to see next.
Spotted by Facebook user @ohitsmerenz, who’s based in the Philippines (and shared by Matt Navarra), the new tags appear after the video has finished, and guide you to other, related videos you might want to see, based on topic. They look somewhat similar to Pinterest’s ‘Guided Search’ tabs, and likely utilize a similar matching system, using Facebook’s data graph to match relevant topics, as opposed to simply showing you other videos.
These are both interesting steps for Facebook video – while it may not be an essential consideration for all businesses as yet, as Mark Zuckerberg himself has noted several times, video is the future of the platform. It’s worth taking notes of their various video updates, and considering what they could mean for your business – especially as Watch is rolled out to more regions in 2018.