- Facebook revealed several updates in a blog post that impact how videos can be viewed, including a previously rumored app for Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Samsung Smart TV, which enables users to view videos shared by friends or Pages they follow, top live videos and recommended videos.
- Also, following positive feedback on a test, the sound for Facebook videos now turns on automatically as users scroll through content instead of them having to tap on a video for sound.
- Additional updates include a larger preview of vertical videos in News Feed on mobile as well as watch and scroll, enabling users to minimize videos for a picture-in-picture view and keep scrolling while they watch.
Video is a big priority for Facebook, which has repeatedly talked up its importance in recent months as well as introduced a number of enhancements and content deals, including a growing array of live streaming sports events, adding a video tab on the mobile app and announcing plans to introduce new buying methods for video ads.
That Facebook has been working on a TV app is not a surprise and builds on last year’s upgrade, which enabled users to stream content via Apple TV and Chromecast. Also in this vein, Facebook has been pivoting toward long-form video content for live streaming.
These moves are not only designed to encourage consumers to watch Facebook videos on their TVs, but can also be seen as a strategy to attract the big advertising dollars brands typically invest in broadcast TV. Last fall, Facebook was reportedly testing the delivery video ads to set-top boxes through services like Roku and Apple TV, another sign that the platform is eyeing TV ad budgets.
To a certain extent, Facebook is merely keeping up with the competition, as YouTube, Snapchat, Amazon and others continue to build their content offerings as viewing habits continue to shift online. In another sign that Facebook is ramping up competition with YouTube, the company is also reportedly seeking a bigger role on its platforms for music videos, where YouTube currently dominates.