Monday, 10 August 2015

Facebook launches VIP live-streaming video service

Early last week Facebook announced an exciting new live streaming video service for celebrities and public figures. This new feature called, Facebook Mentions, allows users to broadcast video to interact with fans in a very public way.

Currently this service is reserved only for the rich and famous, with Facebook already signing up Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Serena Williams, and Michael Bublé to name but a few. In a statement Facebook said, "We’re excited to introduce a new way for you to connect and interact with your favourite public figures on Facebook through live video." Nearly 800 million people are currently connected to public figures via their Facebook account.


The new Mentions app will allow Facebook viewers to comment, share and like the video they are watching with their friends. As the live video plays, users can view live stream-posting comments and can even catch up on feeds that they may have missed earlier in the day. Comments are staggered so they can be viewed at a steady pace, with a blacklist filtering out words or topics that broadcaster does not wish to discuss.

In March 2015, Twitter purchased the Periscope live streaming app that allows any user to broadcast live video via their account. This has opened up a whole range of potential marketing opportunities and ways for users to connect in an authentic way to their audience of followers. It is no supprise that the Mentions app has been designed to compete directly with services such as Perisope and Meerkat, that have already proven to be very successful in a very short time.

I feel that live-streaming video services have a great deal of marketing potential given the huge audiences that follow these public figures postings on social media. How long will it be before companies are added to the list of athletes, musicians, movie stars, politicians and other social influencers already signed up Mentions app service?

I predict there may be some backlash and resentment from the 1.49 billion monthly Facebook users who are unable to stream their own live videos through the service. However, the greatest resentment may come from the (not so VIP’s), who feel they deserve rights to the new service but are denied. In the big business of online advertising and brand promotion, the Mentions app has the potential to really put the cat amongst the pigeons!

Robert Brunning
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

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