Facebook has launched a new live streaming service that will go head to head with the likes of Meerkat and Twitter’s Periscope, but the focus for now ill be on public figures and publishers. Writing in a blog post, Facebook Product Manger Vadim Lavrusik, Product Manager, announced that Live would enable ‘athletes, musicians, politicians and other influencers’ will be able to to use ‘Live’ to connect with their fans on Facebook. Launch partners include Dwayne The Rock Johnson, Serena Williams, Luke Bryan, Ricardo Kaka, Ashley Tisdale, Lester Holt, Martha Stewart and Michael Bublé.
Facebook say Live will enable users to do things like grow and engage their fan base. Once you start to stream a Live video, it will appear in News Feed for fans to comment, like and share. People who have recently interacted with a public figure’s posts will also receive a notification as soon as they start streaming. During the broadcast, the publisher will be able to see the see the number of viewers and a real time stream of comments from people the people who are tuning in. Then the person streaming can respond to comments live during the broadcast, or choose to hide comments.
Once the broadcast has ended, the person streaming will have the option to publish the video to their page, so Facebook will also be generating on-demand video which one would assume will generate significant amounts of additional inventory for Facebook.
It’s going to be interesting to see how Facebook will play this. Is the initial trial with celebrities simply a way to generate interest in the new functionality and make it more desirable? If not, Facebook would have a much-needed premium video play, although the scale that would come to opening it up to the masses might be too much of an opportunity for Facebook to resist.