- Facebook may be backing some attention off its Live streaming video feature, in part because of the extreme content that has appeared, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal. The publication pointed out that the newly implemented video tab on Facebook's mobile app includes other types of video content rather than emphasizing Live.
Some publishers reported being unimpressed with Facebook Live viewership and engagement results as well as claiming that the service's popularity has dropped off, according to the Journal article. One publisher said that breaking news works for live video but not planned broadcasts.
Facebook's attempt to monetize live content is still a work in progress. After previous reports suggested Facebook would not renew agreements with publishers paying them for live content, the Journal report said some contracts may be extended even as publishers are not being included in premium video content partnerships. Ads have also started appearing in live videos.
The lengthy Journal report highlights several areas where Live has run into trouble. At least 50 violent incidents have occurred on Live, according to the publication's tally, casting a spotlight on the dangers live video poses for marketers. While Facebook is working on AI technology to better monitor for extreme content, sources suggested the company was "naive" to not better account for these risks at launch.
Non-brand safe content has been a standing issue with Live, but the Journal's report also suggests that the feature is simply not the smash hit that Facebook wanted it to be. That’s not to say it's not popular; if anything, research suggests Facebook Live is beating out key competitors like YouTube when it comes to raw streaming numbers. Past the user-to-user experience, however, the service might have faltered a bit.
Perhaps a consequence of Live's reportedly rushed rollout, Facebook only added audience building tools, including a live video API, in October — around the same time the company made a strong push for user adoption with a massive "go live" ad campaign. But even given the more robust toolkit, capturing attentions appears to have proved elusive for many businesses and publishers.
Facebook has been active in building out its video content, especially as digital advertising space on its News Feed dries up. Just a few months ago, Live stood at the center of that pivot toward a video focus. Now, premium, long-form video content appears to be taking away some of Live's mindshare as Facebook hears out pitches for TV-like series and integrates a set-top box app for TVs.
Facebook has promised creators of that new premium content a marquee spot in the mobile video tab, the Journal said. While news organizations and publishers played a major role in Facebook anchoring Live, they are reportedly absent from Facebook's discussions around premium video content partnerships.