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Facebook (FB) Goes Full Throttle with Live Video Viewing

Facebook, Inc FB has added some new features to its Facebook Live to give people “more ways to discover, share, and interact with live video, and more ways to personalize live broadcasts.” The social service giant said that it will “dedicate” a special place for live videos on its mobile app.

Reuters puts it as Facebook’s most challenging move to get past rivals like Twitter’s TWTR Periscope, Alphabet’s GOOGL YouTube and Snapchat’s video offering. It also poses serious competition to live televised broadcasting. 

Facebook has long been improvising its live video format to transform it into another robust ad revenue generating platform. Online video is the most lucrative component of digital advertising. As video ads generate more revenues than their photo and text based counterparts, Facebook is trying to incorporate more and more video oriented content to bring in more ad dollars. Research firm, Forrester Research projects digital ad revenues to touch $12.6 billion by 2019. 

Facebook’s gargantuan 1.6 billion user base records 100 million hours of daily video viewing. 

Last year, Facebook Live was exclusively launched for celebrities and then eventually rolled out for both Android and iOS users in the U.S.

Yesterday, Facebook announced that people can now use Facebook Live to broadcast videos in Groups and Events. Going Live in Groups means people only in the group can see the videos unlike Events. Facebook Live will enable people to hold Q&A session through events. CEO Zuckerberg tried the same yesterday but the live feed was disrupted soon after the broadcast started. Later on Zuckerberg went live again from a different location. As per CNBC, Facebook denied any technical glitch.

Moreover, the audience can respond to the live broadcast in real time through Live Reactions (same as in the news feed Reactions, which are a set of 5 emojis, namely Love, Haha, Wow, Sad or Angry). Live Reactions will show right on top of the page and broadcasters will see the profile picture of the person and a little starburst pop up before the reaction appears.

However, the live emojis will wane quickly to make the experience as interactive as possible. As per Facebook, this will let broadcasters and other viewers know people’s reaction at different points during the streaming comparing it to hearing the crowd clap and cheer. Facebook also added that an initial survey found that people reacted 10 times more to a live video than regular videos.

Other features added to Facebook Live include five filters to personalize feed as well enable doodling/drawing on live video and an option to invite friends to watch videos. Apart from all these, Facebook also launched the Facebook Live Map feature for desktops in 60 countries to let users get access to live videos from across the globe.

At present, Facebook has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). A better-ranked stock in the same space is Etsy, Inc. ETSY, which sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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FACEBOOK INC-A (FB): Free Stock Analysis Report
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