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FACEBOOK: A NEW ERA OF SOCIAL TELEVISION?

Facebook is planning to introduce its own original TV-style content as they seek to tap into the explosion of digital video viewing.

The social network is looking into the possibility of buying its own video content from creative partners, including original scripted and unscripted shows, as well as sports. By doing so, they are trying to prevent their huge user base from moving to other sites offering unique content. This move has the potential of ushering a major shift in the media industry and should be enough to worry the traditional TV providers who may need to consider going back to the drawing board.

It has been reported that 60% of all data traffic is taken up by video streaming and this could rise to 78% by 2021. Major social networks have been adding live streaming functionalities to drive revenue and strengthen their hold on social media users.

The future generation of adults (millennials) are more attracted to the online world than traditional TV so it makes sense for companies who have found it hard to reach them via traditional means to turn their attention to social media sites such as Facebook. “It could possibly be a perfect marriage between a large, engaged user base, new exciting content, and perhaps most importantly, an already healthy advertising ecosystem that users are very familiar with,” Says Shawndra Hill, senior fellow at the Wharton Customer Analytics Initiative.

As more innovations are taking place to improve user experience and increase viewership, the shift from the TV screen to the handset or laptop looks more and more likely. The most notable live streaming features and services today are Twitter’s Periscope, Meerkat, Facebook Live, and YouTube Live.

The so-called democratization of TV (the ability of technologies to allow anyone to produce content) however brings with it addition problems in regulation and audit. We are all familiar with the sorts of things we can and cannot post on social media, but how will Facebook or any other social live feed, control the potential horror of another online suicide in India, or another live gang rape in Chicago when they are already streaming 100M’s hours a day of video? It could be that technical challenges such as these, coupled with local country regulations could impede the pace of progress.

However, it’s exciting to see how the future of TV and video could shape up and what is clear is that the shift is already taking place as more innovative ideas are being implemented.

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