2018 may be a crucial year for Facebook’s ambitions in the video market. As we previously reported (read here), Facebook has consistently been trying to grab the share of the ad video market, which is dominated by YouTube, a daughter company of Google. But it seems that video streaming in Facebook will take off in 2018, and there are solid reasons for it.
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, during the call with investors that took place in the February of the last year said: “I believe in the future of the video market, and that is the reason why I will continue placing the videos across all our platforms.” No one could reproach Zuckerberg that he didn’t stick to his word, as the investments in video streaming in Facebook substantially grew in 2017. However, even a year before that, in 2016, Facebook started to pour money into the video market in an attempt to attract publishers from the biggest rivals, Netflix and YouTube. In particular, Facebook’s section “Watch” became incredibly popular, featuring a lot of original video content out there.
Video streaming in Facebook has become an important part of the marketing strategy of almost every large brand
Besides, there is also the Facebook Live Video feature, which gave an opportunity for a large number of people to stream videos in live while using their Facebook accounts. That also allowed such people to display the videos directly to their friends on Facebook, instead of having to invite them to some other platform. A clear advantage of this feature is that it displays the number of actual viewers with a 3-second lag. However, many critics point out that this feature shows all the viewers, even those who have just been scrolling their feed down and happened to auto-play the video for a few seconds.
Facebook has also funded a good hundred of various TV shows, including TV shows produced by such companies like Vox Media, Mashable, Group Nine Media, BuzzFeed, and Attn. Actually, those are typical lifestyle shows that abound on YouTube and that tend to be cheap-to-produce. Facebook is determined to keep pouring the money into bringing such TV shows to the platform, but that won’t make a great video viewing platform out of it alone.
Some analysts assume that Facebook is trying to figure out the model and become something similar to Netflix or Hulu. However, they assume that Facebook is not even close to them for now. That is not a surprise that many Facebook’s partners have expressed a hope that the funding of their shows from Facebook will not cease, though they admitted that they are aware that this can stop any moment.
For now, Facebook still has a long way to go to figure out the right model in regards towards videos. As social media analysts say: “Watching 20-minute TV shows on Facebook is somewhat different from just scrolling through the feed and observing news and short videos. The users still have to get used to that.”