Every social network seems to be trying to transition towards episodic TV content. And there's good reason for that - as noted in a recent study by eMarketer, more than 91% of internet users are expected be simultaneously be using the internet, in some form, while they watch TV by next year.
This is a major shift in consumption behavior - so why not work with the trend and merge the two, mixing TV content and social media into one stream?
All the major platforms are toying with this idea in some form - Twitter's putting increased emphasis on live-streamed content, Google just announced a new communal YouTube viewing experience, Snap Inc. has signed a new deal with Vice to have the media company produce original Snapchat programming.
But of all of them, it may be Facebook's that's best-placed to become the home of this new social TV movement, and benefit most from the lucrative ad dollars that are likely to come with it.
Adding to the logic behind this push, Facebook's published a new research report which highlights changing TV viewing behaviors, and underlines why social networks are putting so much emphasis on video programming.
First off, to get a better handle on the changing TV viewing process, Facebook surveyed more than 2,000 people in the US and Canada on their TV consumption habits - whether they prefer streaming content or traditional TV.
As you can see, the shift is pretty definitive - while this behavior is more focused on platforms like Netflix than it is on social TV, specifically, the actual process itself is what's definitive. Younger users are not as reliant on TV networks and programming to dictate their TV consumption, they're more open to the control and access that streaming providers enable.
This change in consumption process is significant - in another element of the study, Facebook's researchers found that people who prefer streaming content indicated that content is their primary concern, over traditional TV viewers who noted price was the biggest factor.
This lends itself more to the on-demand nature of streaming, the new trends of binge-watching and being able to dictate when and where you view your shows. Such habits move further away from traditional TV viewing, which is still aligned to a strict broadcast schedule.
In addition to this, Facebook's research also underlined the social-specific elements of the new TV shift, finding that streaming viewers are significantly more likely to discover new content via friends - and via their mobile devices.
There are some big pointers here for those looking to get an understanding of the social TV shift and why social platforms are putting so much emphasis on TV-like content. And if it works, and the platforms can get more users viewing more video content on their platforms - even make social a genuine alternative to traditional TV - the ad dollars will follow.
Indeed, eMarketer also predicts that digital ad spending will soon surpass TV for the first time:
"In 2017, TV ad spending will total $72.01 billion, or 35.8% of total media ad spending in the US. Meanwhile, total digital ad spending in 2017 will equal $77.37 billion, or 38.4% of total ad spending."
That's not a big surprise, of course, anyone could see that coming at some stage, but it's the 'how' that should be of most interest to digital marketers, and what that means for their own ad spend and outreach process.
There may be a time soon where TV-style advertising is more accessible than ever - and rather than wide-scale spend on broadcast air time, you'll be able to target your ads to specific audiences using the advanced targeting capacities of Facebook and other providers.
The data here shows where things are heading. Worth taking note and monitoring the subsequent viewer trends.