Watching Facebook on TV indicates a Video Content Switch from Social Media to TV Screen

In an exciting twist to social media and TV viewing, Facebook has announced the upcoming launch of its new smart TV app. The app will support Apple TV, Samsung TV and Amazon Fire TV, and allow Facebook users to watch videos and check their newsfeed at the same time. Users will be able to upload, share and save video content to be viewed later on their TV screen. We’re also excited to see what engaging and entertaining TV-style content they will come up with.

This move could potentially put Facebook in direct competition with Youtube, not to mention existing smart TV players such as Netflix and Hulu. In order to achieve a quality viewing experience that diverts attention from mobile devices and onto TV screens, Facebook has been busy on both the tech and business side: just last month, the Wall Street Journal reported that Facebook was developing an app for TV set-top boxes that would help Facebook compete for ad revenue. This could also be linked to CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement that Facebook is expanding recruitment in both its video and other business sectors. 

The nexus of the mobile internet is merging with, and replacing, the traditional TV media landscape. Facebook’s recently launched live-streaming video product ‘Facebook Live’, is considered to present a subversive challenge to broadcast TV. Various content media, from broadcast TV to vertical video media and now social media (UGC + PGC) are fighting for the screen time of a global audience. While we have observed that nowadays, video content is consumed via various and diverse forms of media (free-to-view, pay-to-view, subscription, purchase upon advertising), we have seldom found one dominant media that wins audience penetration from all screens. This is due to the original nature of the media (social-primary vs. content streaming-primary) and business model (UGC vs. licensed content or branded production). Apart from the deeply held notion that ‘content is king’, types of media that connect and understand their audience have an edge in this new era of TV content. 

In light of this, Facebook had previously hired a professional content production team to create innovative, high quality content. It also licensed music content from big labels, but refrained from becoming a direct competitor to Spotify or Apple Music (subscribed music or streaming radio media). However, Facebook has a strong social user base and ad tech background. This assures its leading data-driven ad platform and ad revenue, which could help it compete with Youtube. With a strong set of audio fingerprinting (to help identify audio files and user-centric recommendation/search) and content ID (to protect original work and qualify it against a large database of similar content), Facebook could swiftly develop into a video content media. If it solves the content management issues and leverages its existing ad tech to identify, target and push relevant ads towards its users, it could gain significant ad revenue. 

Other companies in the industry are realizing the value of connecting and aligning cross-screen user data for programmatic ad buying. Instead of following the Facebook and Netflix business model in this market, they are developing advertising solutions to facilitate other video content media to offer mobile-user-centric programmatic TV advertising. Appcoach started its tri-screen advertising SDK project with China Telecom, China’s largest telecoms company. In this case, Appcoach connects users’ behavioral data on mobile devices, PCs and smart TVs within a household’s wifi environment. This solution is powered by Appcoach’s SDK. It delivers relevant, customized ads targeted towards TV viewers, based on big data. Advertisers can get a clear picture of the audience by combining separate user profiles across multiple screens into one profile, and then push relevant ads to them within a wifi-connected tri-screen environment. 

Media Sources: Wall Street Journal, Techcrunch