Facebook Moves To The Big Screen

Facebook is ready to be an even bigger part of your everyday life as it makes its move into living rooms everywhere with a new television application. While Facebook did, in fact, release a feature that allows users to stream Facebook content from their phone to their television last year, this new application will expand on that feature considerably.

According to a recent Facebook blog post by Dana Sittler, Facebook Product Manager, and Alex Li, Facebook Engineering Manager, the “…video app for TV is a new way to enjoy Facebook videos on a bigger screen…With the app, you can watch videos shared by friends or Pages you follow, top live videos from around the world, and recommended videos based on your interests. You can also catch up on videos you’ve saved to watch later, as well as revisit videos you’ve watched, shared or uploaded.”

The new app, which is scheduled to roll out sometime in early 2017, is designed to work with set-top boxes, specifically for the Apple TV, Amazon Fire devices and Samsung smart TVs to start. Facebook has made it clear that more set-top boxes will be supported as time goes on.

The move to create an actual Facebook application for set-top boxes stems from Facebook’s major video content push. Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg outlined this initiative in the 2016 Q4 earnings call where he laid out Facebook’s goal of being the place where its users go to when they “…want to watch videos or want to keep up to date with what’s going on with their favorite show.”

Dan Rose, Facebook’s VP of Partnerships, remarked on the video initiative at a recent Code Media conference saying “a lot of people, when they’re watching video on News Feed during the day, will save it for later because they don’t have time to watch that three-minute video, now it’s easy to go on your TV if you want to do that at night.”

While Facebook is ready to invest in video content, it remains to be seen whether consumers have the desire for a standalone Facebook video application. According to a Recode article, Facebook users were watching over 100 million hours of video content every day in early 2016. However, there is no guarantee that that many people will take the time to watch Facebook’s video content on their television.

For now, the Facebook app will not include any advertisements. However, given Facebook’s history, if this app catches on consumers can expect advertisements to be introduced.

Facebook also announced a few other changes, including:
  • A picture-in-picture feature, allowing you to watch a video while continuing to scroll through your feed
  • Vertical video viewing
  • Autoplay videos will now automatically have sound enabled
Sources:

  1. http://www.recode.net/2017/2/14/14608058/facebook-tv-app-apple-tv-amazon-fire-tv-set-top-app-video
  2. http://www.multichannel.com/news/content/facebook-roll-out-tv-app/410913

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