Facebook Tests Out New Video Format to Boost Communal Viewing and Engagement
Facebook’s working on a new video option which aims to boost engagement by enabling creators and publishers to post pre-recorded video within the Facebook Live environment.
Sounds a bit weird, right? Especially given Facebook has previously sought to crack down on ‘fake’ Facebook Live videos, where publishers re-broadcast old content through Facebook Live in order to get a reach boost.
This is not quite that. Called ‘Premieres’, the new process would give approved publishers the opportunity to broadcast pre-recorded content through what’s essentially Facebook Live, though the videos would clearly be tagged as ‘Premiere’ and not ‘Live’.
As explained by Facebook’s VP of Product Fidji Simo:
“People will be able to experience Premieres of videos like movie trailers, new episodes of Facebook Watch shows, or new content from their favorite creators, alongside other fans together in real time - just like watching a Facebook Live video.”
So while it looks like a Facebook Live video, and viewers will be able to comment and interact in real time, the idea is not to misconstrue what is and isn’t live material (which, as noted, is what Facebook has sought to weed out in the past). The impetus is to give users another way to interact around video content, expanding the communal viewing experience of live to more formats.
That’s a key area which both Facebook and Google been investigating in recent times.
As demonstrated by the launch of Facebook’s dedicated communal live-streaming app Bonfire and the addition of new group streaming elements within Instagram Live, Facebook’s looking to tap into that usage of video as a connective, conversational device - which is a rising trend, particularly among younger users.
Facebook’s also been testing out ‘Watch Party’, which enables Facebook group admins to share public video clips with their members, and for those viewers to then comment and discuss the content in real-time – again, similar to a Facebook Live video.
For their part, Google has developed its own communal video app, called ‘UpTime’, which they launched early last year. Through UpTime, users can create a shared viewing experience for any video, with comments and indicators of where your friends are in the playback.
Clearly, both companies see communal video viewing as a valuable trend – and it is worth noting that Facebook Live videos still generate 6x more interactions than regular video posts.
Through Premiere, Facebook’s clearly looking to tap into that additional engagement opportunity. On first blush, it may seem a little out of place, even potentially deceptive, in regards to blurring the lines between what’s live and what isn’t. But the logic of the offering makes sense, and the broader usage trends would suggest that it could be a very valuable addition.
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