Facebook voices commitment to audio with new live service

Dive Brief:

  • Facebook has a new way for partners to go live on the social media platform with Live Audio, the company announced in a blog post. Listeners can find live audio content in their news feed, ask questions, leave reactions during a broadcast and share the content with friends. 
  • Live Audio makes it easy for broadcasters to reach audiences with audio only, particularly in areas where connectivity may be low and live video isn’t an option. 
  • Facebook is testing Live Audio with BBC World Service, LBC, Harper Collins and authors Adam Grant and Britt Bennett. The plan is to make the new format more broadly available to publishers and people early next year.

Dive Insight:

Live Audio is Facebook’s answer to the popularity of podcasts, which consumers and publishers have embraced with gusto this year, reflecting how audio is easily consumed on-the-go from a smartphone. 

With the audio-only option, Facebook is doubling down on real-time content following the success of its live video offering this year. The growing importance of real-time content was also made apparent last week when Facebook launched Live 360 for immersive live experiences

Facebook reports that users of Live Audio will be able to multi-task, with those on Android devices able to listen to live audio even if they leave the Facebook app. IOS listeners can continue listening as they browse other parts of Facebook. 

Facebook’s acceleration into real-time content comes at the same time that Twitter, long the reigning leader in delivering immediacy on social media, is struggling with its own business model, with as growth slows and possible acquirers have become scarce.  

For its part, Twitter is beefing up its video offerings as it looks to hold its own against Facebook and an emerging threat in Snapchat. The micro-blogging service launched live video for users for the first time last week and followed this release with the news that it will merge video looping app Vine into the main platform rather than shut it down. 

Filed Under: Social Media Corporate News Mobile
Top image credit: Facebook