Facebook recently started streaming live video from the Palo Alto, California headquarters. It's not 24/7 nor is it what you might expect but more a mix of content including interviews and technical talk, etc. But that's not the only video deal in the works at the social networking giant (who is preparing to fend off a Google social network).
While Facebook Live is streaming content, not always live per se, from the HQ it's not all that interesting at times. But rumors abound about other deals in the works.
Channel Five to be Number One on Facebook
The UK has 26 million Facebook users currently, that's about half of the 62 million people in the country (42% actually). So is it any surprise that Channel Five is working to get their Demand Five service embedded into the site. They would be the first broadcaster to get their content on the social network in this fashion.
The content will certainly only be available to UK residents which is a shame. But for Facebook it could be a major win as it would most certainly extend the time-on-site as people possibly start watching long tail content there.
However, unless the player can be full-screened with very good quality, why would you opt for that over their standalone player? Well, even if the video were quite sizable but not quite full screen it could certainly have some benefits, like being able to interact with friends and other features of Facebook while watching the content.
The Future Social Video Experience?
This could be excellent if they manage to make the player 75% of the screen and then leave the other 25% for Facebook interactions. If you look at the Facebook Live page, you'll see that they have done something similar, sans full-screen capabilities.
It makes me wonder if they did Facebook Live as a testbed to see both what they could do as well as show it off to content providers. Imagine being able to watch a Live sports event (legally, unlike Ustream and Justin.tv) on Facebook and talk smack with your friends whose team yours is trouncing in real-time via Facebook chat. Or share scores and cool clips as they happen on your profile for others to see.
I see a massive amount of potential and the advent of the real social video era. With 500 million users, that could add up to some massive viewing audiences. Imagine if the recent World Cup had been streamed Live through Facebook, think of that as a model for what could be during the next Olympic games or any other international sporting or other event. What about something like Wimbledon, the Daytona or Indy 500.
Facebook as a Premium Content Provider?
Now take that to a subscription model, a pay-per-view event could reach more people in more places. Those people could then interact with other fans in real time while watching the event as well as share in real time with others who aren't watching which essentially makes the world's biggest marketing community for your event.
Facebook already has the means to handle this via Facebook Credits which it just recently introduced.
What are Facebook Credits?
Facebook Credits are a secure and easy way to buy optional items such as virtual pets, premium game weaponry, and other fun supplies in many of your favorite free games. Credits have a monetary value. Spend or save them as you like.
How do you get credits?
If you see a credit balance and didn't buy your own credits, then you likely received free credits directly from Facebook as a gift. Otherwise, you can earn credits through special offers or buy credits using PayPal, credit cards, or your mobile.
Which games accept credits?
Many of the top games on Facebook accept credits as payment for premium items. To see where you can use credits, visit the help center.
Yes, Facebook credits are currently aimed at the gaming community, but could easily be extended to all manner of premium content including, video-on-demand and live-streaming events.
Credits are currently $5 for 50, so if we look at prices on iTunes, that would be couple episodes of most TV shows, or perhaps the exact price of admission to a live streaming event. $5 x 500 million potential viewers = massive revenue. Long live online video!
Facebook teamed up with LiveStream for its Facebook Live channel and I see no reason why they couldn't start offering more live steams both for free and for Facebook credits in the very near future. Livestream has a lot of content already and the two could certainly extend their current relationship and start generating further revenue for both as well as extend eyes-on-site at Facebook which, coupled with ads, could provide even further revenue generation streams.
Wouldn't it be ironic if Facebook were showing Google Adsense ads on their videos?