In October 2016, Facebook started allowing video content streaming direct to your TV on several types of streaming devices, including Apple TV and Chromecast. As a followup to that initiative, at the end of January 2017, the social network announced that it was developing a special video app for Apple TV and other set top boxes.
A short two weeks later, the company has issued a press release saying that the video app is ready, and will be rolling out to Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Samsung Smart TV. They’ve also announced more platform additions in the near future.
Why Facebook Wants a Better Video Streaming Option
Facebook has long told investors and fans that video and mobile are the future of the company. But the problem is, mobile video is only a small part of the streaming video market. True, players like YouTube and just about everyone else has a mobile app for their video content, but premium streaming content has always been more popular on larger screens – more so now because most platforms support 4K videos.
To capture that larger audience of people who prefer watching videos on their smart TVs and through their digital streaming devices, Facebook has to do this. From a technical perspective it’s not a major innovation or breakthrough. The video app merely allows content to be streamed from the Internet directly to your TV. But the impact of this could be huge.
What Problem is Facebook Solving with the Video App?
Aside from YouTube and a few other platforms, most video platforms have limited social aspects. However, now that Facebook is in on the game, the company intends to allow users to interact with others through the video app.
We see this as a unique twist on video content because Facebook is primarily a social network rather than a content platform. The share/comment/like/love/follow element is key to the Facebook experience, and that’s basically what the company is bringing to the table with the new video app.
The app holds a lot of potential because Facebook users can now engage in social activity through their TV using the video app.
Premium Videos Reaching Out to Larger Screen Formats
To top that off, the social giant intends to experiment with premium paid content as well, essentially stepping into Netflix territory. They may choose not to pursue that agenda aggressively – since user-generated content is more their forte – but it will give them a chance to explore new monetization options while their ad revenue growth is still very much intact on their existing Facebook Audience Network platform.
In one sense, Facebook is expanding the device reach of its video content, but the more important point to note here is that it opens up a new platform for uploaders to have their content viewed on bigger screens, thereby encouraging them to upload higher-resolution content such as 4K. They’re already doing it with Facebook Live videos, but now they have a solid channel – the video app – on which to showcase their best content.
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