- From Aug. 3 to Oct. 31, 2017, National Geographic's "Safari Live" garnered 220 million total views on Facebook Watch, 187,000 shares, likes and comments and 8.3 million video views, according to data from the publisher made available to Marketing Dive. The show saw rapid follower growth, adding 7,500 followers in August, 52,000 followers in September for a month-to-month increase of 583% and 65,000 fans in October, representing another 25% gain.
- Nat Geo launched Safari Live in 2015 as an interactive way for digital viewers to experience an actual safari. It had been broadcast live on YouTube twice daily before Facebook asked the brand to join the alpha launch of Facebook Watch, with its first broadcast on Aug. 2.
- Safari Live runs live twice daily on Nat Geo WILD, Facebook Live, YouTube, Twitter and NatGeo.com, and Facebook Watch is the archive home for non-live content from the show and cuts of the best footage.
The results for Facebook Watch have been mixed so far but Nat Geo news points to the platform's potential to drive ongoing engagement for live digital content by providing a hub for related non-live content and clips. Facebook Watch provided an opportunity to turn Safari Live into content that could be accessible across platforms and time zones, according to the material provided to Marketing Dive. Previously, Safari Live, while considered a prized product by Nat Geo, had limited viewer access because of its twice-daily live tune-in times.
Another benefit of the Facebook Watch strategy is it offers audiences a direct line to the cast, the animals featured in the show and each other through engagement on Facebook’s platform. It also provides an opportunity for sponsorship and advertiser integrations, which have been in demand, according to the media company.
Facebook Watch, which is a still relative newcomer, has ways to go to catch up to YouTube, with recent research finding the average viewing time for content on Facebook Watch tab for premium video is 23 seconds. However, A&E Networks saw good results for its "Bae or Bail" show early on while Facebook Watch continues to attract new content brands like Rotten Tomatoes.