Facebook New “Video” Hub: An Emerging Competitor of YouTube ?


Remember what Zuckerberg said during the company’s first town hall meeting in November last year,

“In five years, most of [Facebook] will be video.”

Apparently, he has moved a step closer today !

Yet another move of Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) towards creating a video hub in-house without allowing the users to get distracted is on the go. The recent update by the social media networking site is about making the video content flexible and easily consumable for the platform users. The move has come at the time when the internet industry is witnessing the trend of increasing consumption of video content globally.

Video content is the most popular type of content being consumed online nowadays. Around 55% of the respondents to the Global Digital Landscape survey worldwide said that Video programs are an important part of their life, and 59% prefer mobile devices for watching videos. This is due to high penetration of smartphone and tablet devices that have become more affordable; thanks to declining ASP (Average Selling Price). Consequently, video consumption through mobile devices is estimated to grow by 43.9% and further 34.8% in 2015 and 2016 across the globe.

It is no wonder Facebook is getting a hold on the video content in the eve of video era. With the new introduced set of features, Facebook has focused on making users reach their favorite video much easier. A new “Videos” icon appears at the bottom of the Facebook app and in the “Favorites” section on the left-hand side of the “News Feed” for desktop users. The new Video tab houses the bookmarked videos, videos from friends, followed pages or from video publishers. This is the one-stop shop for the users to consume all the video content available on the Facebook. In simple terms, this is the “Facebook’s YouTube.

If the users love to watch back to back videos, similar to the ones on their “News Feed”, Facebook has made it easier. Similar to YouTube, Facebook presents an array of suggested videos just below the featuring video. The feature has already been made available to most of iPhone users globally.

Facebook is receiving a great response from the users for the new Video section, and, therefore, is foreseeing to reap most out of it. The company has planned to test video ads within that suggested videos.

The new generation social media user is a multitask master. Facebook understands the user behavior like no one else, and that’s why it has allowed users to stay engaged with other tasks on the platform while watching videos. It is a picture-in-picture feature allowing the viewer to shrink the video into a small box on the corner of the screen. This feature is similar to the one available on Tumblr.

Facebook has also mentioned about the “Saving” option for videos, something that was introduced last year. Not many people are making us of the feature, though, this allows the users bookmark their favorite videos and watch it later.

But that’s is not all; Facebook is tightening the noose of those who indulge in downloading and reproducing content illegitimately. As a part of new features pack, it is enabling publishers to have a better management and control over the videos originally created by them. The video matching technology that enables the publishers to keep the hold of the video content is a stepping stone towards securing their rights for video content. This reminds of the content ID on the YouTube.

Facebook Video: Any Threat For YouTube

Soon the monopoly of YouTube on the video content declines as Facebook is stepping in. YouTube though, beats Facebook in terms of number of visitors it fails to achieve active engagement. YouTube leads in 32 out of 34 markets with highest number of visitors but fails to engage them, states Q3 2015 Global Web Index report on latest trends in social networking.

Facebook is growing leaps and bounds owing to its 1.49 billion monthly active users. After introducing free internet access initiative Free Basics, enhanced mobile shopping experience through Canvas, it is now trying to capitalize on the growing adoption of video content by the internet users.

Though Facebook had already surpassed YouTube in the number of video shares in the last quarter of 2014, the number of total video views on Facebook questionable. Overall engagement on Facebook videos increased by 8% during Q1 2015, and the bulk of the engagement increase came from the increased number of shares that went up by 43%.

Irrespective of who is a clear winner  in this space, the trend is owed to the changing behavior of the digital customer as users are consuming video content on Facebook besides YouTube. Video content is attractive and gathering huge base especially, brands should not miss publishing videos on Facebook.

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