Facebook announced its own live video streaming service this week. But unlike Periscope or Meerkat, only celebrities can use this one as it’s restricted to people with verified Pages, who can use the exclusive Mentions app.
Making live video a ‘gated community’ feature led to much debate, with some saying that it was a way of controlling quality and cutting down on messy, low-value streams of your Uncle Bob walking his dog. Our own Mic Wright felt it was a wrongheaded move.
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Personally, I think it’s an interesting way of testing the technology ahead of a wider rollout, with the caveat that live video doesn’t really make much sense on Facebook unless you’ve got an enormous following. The way the News Feed works, most of your friends wouldn’t see your stream until it had finished – you might as well just upload a normal video.
A much more interesting place for live video is Facebook Messenger.
Messenger is about ‘right now’ (as opposed to the News Feed’s ‘up to a few days ago’) and is being expanded into a platform that supports payments, commerce, customer support and third-party apps. So, why not accommodate live video too?
Imagine if you could sign up to get video broadcasts from your favorite publishers, brands and celebrities – and yes, your actual friends, too. Sure, you can already do one-to-one video calling in Messenger, but live video broadcasting would make a lot of sense as the next step.
Share a birthday party with the friends who can’t make it, see an exclusive live announcement from your favorite band, watch a fashion brand’s new catwalk show live… Maybe your Uncle Bob will stream that dog walk to you too, if you ask him nicely.
With messaging apps around the world now acting as platforms rather than simple conduits for chat, I’ll wager that streaming video will be heading to Messenger if it’s heading anywhere on Facebook.
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