Facebook has announced it’s going to roll out its video live streaming service to the masses, which is great news for consumers but potentially challenging for brands.
According to this statement, Facebook says: “Today, we’re excited to expand the ability to share live video to everyone in the U.S. via iPhone, and we plan to start rolling this out to the rest of the world over the coming weeks.”
Make no bones about it: This development will be a game-changer (but potentially not in the way you’d imagine – see more comments below). Video live-streaming already has traction thanks to the likes of Periscope, Meerkat, MeVee and Blab, but now with Facebook Live the medium will get a real ‘shot in the arm’ it needs to go from fringe to mainstream.
Celebrities and influencers (‘public figures’) have been able to use the function since last year but it will be adoption by the masses that will really change the ball game.
While it’s not implicitly explained, you’d have to think accounts running Facebook ‘Brand Pages’ will have access to the Live app as well. Which of course begs the question: How will brands leverage this new application?
Indeed, should they even consider using Facebook Live at all, or are they better off with real-time apps such as Periscope?
Real danger for brands
Personally, I’m not convinced Facebook users will necessarily be flocking to see what companies are broadcasting (unless you’re a cool brand that people aspire to and you already create genuinely entertaining content, or you’re a truly ‘connected brand’ with a strong community that supports your organisation). People use Facebook mainly to connect and stay in touch with their friends and family – and Live will help them do that to an even greater extent.
Which means, if that’s going to be the case, I think the real danger for brands is that Live will splinter the public’s already-limited attention span even more.
That said, real-time broadcasting from a mobile device just got a whole lot more interesting; expect even more digital disruption this year as a result.
File under: Watch this space!
P.S. I think the real beneficiaries of Facebook Live will be those individuals who manage to carve out a niche on the platform. We’ve seen this happen first with YouTube, where completely unknown people became influential online ‘celebrities’ thanks to their deft use of the medium (HERE ARE SOME EXAMPLES). Ditto Vine. Meerkat. Blab. Periscope etc. It’s only a matter of time me thinks …
I’ve written more about the topic here: How your business can get the edge with video live-streaming.
* PIC: (Sourced from Facebook)