Video is becoming increasingly important to Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB). Social media users are big on watching video, and video ads are an important revenue stream. But FB was missing out on the video action when members put down their smartphones to fire up the big screen in their living room. Not any longer. The company announced it’s releasing a new Facebook video app for TV. The app will soon roll out to two of the most popular set-top streaming boxes.
Yesterday, FB made the announcement that it will be releasing a new Facebook video app for TV.
This will be an app that’s available for some of the most popular set-top streaming boxes and Smart TVs. Specifically mentioned were Apple Inc.’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) Apple TV, the Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) Fire TV and Smart TVs from Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (OTCMKTS:SSNLF). Facebook also notes that more platforms will be supported in the future.
Facebook Video App for TV
Last year, the company enabled support for mirroring Facebook videos on a TV from a mobile device. This required using Apple Airplay or Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG, NASDAQ:GOOGL) Google Cast capabilities.
The new Facebook video app for TV cuts the Wi-Fi tether to a mobile device and lets users interact directly with the videos on their TV without picking up their device.
“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.”
Why Focus on Getting Facebook Video Onto TV Screens?
FB CEO Mark Zuckerberg is intent on making video a priority for Facebook. He was quoted in an investor call at the start of the month making that emphasis clear:
“I see video as a mega trend on the same order as mobile. That’s why we’re going to keep putting video first across our family of apps and making it easier for people to capture and share video in new ways.”
In 2016, FB’s push to video had resulted in users watching 100 million hours of video every day. Now the company is getting more aggressive about monetization. In January, it began testing a feature that let video publishers insert ads 20 seconds into watching their Facebook clips, with FB taking 45% of the revenue generated.
Yesterday’s announcement of the Facebook video app for TV also included several new features for the company’s core mobile users. Videos in the News Feed will now play with sound by default and the videos will be able to stay playing in picture-in-picture windows as users scroll through their News Feed.
In December, FB was reportedly taking to TV studios about the possibility of licensing content, including traditional scripted shows, live sports events and game shows. If the company ends up releasing licensed content from media companies (or even its own original content), a Facebook video app for TV means it can appeal to consumers who want to watch it as actual TV programming. And that introduces additional revenue opportunities — without having to split the cash with content uploaders.
When Can We Expect the Facebook Video App for TV?
FB is being a little vague about when it will actually release the app. The announcement says it will “roll out soon to app stores for Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Samsung Smart TV, with more platforms to come.” So stay tuned. But with its lofty video ambitions, it’s a safe bet you’ll be watching Facebook video on your TV sooner rather than later.
As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.