The way many discover and share interesting things to watch is through social media. However, social media is now originating much of the video that consumers watch. Recent announcements from Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter illustrate how social is impacting almost every facet of online video delivery.
Snapchat helping users Discover professional video
This week Snapchat launched a new section of the app, dubbed Discover, devoted to professionally produced content. Companies such as Yahoo, CNN, ESPN and Comedy Central are contributing a selection of short, fresh, topical stories told in text and video. The stories are updated every day. If the initial set of content is anything to go by, this feature is going to attract a lot of new users to Snapchat.
With a very simple smartphone interface, Discover content is very easy to snack on. Videos and articles are very short, making it mobile data-plan friendly. So, people will be using Snapchat Discover in line at the grocery store, on the bus, where ever. Best of all it’s free. Expect to see many new partners to join Discover in the next few months, and many other sites to attempt to copy the model.
Facebook drives as much video as YouTube
Facebook had a great fourth quarter posting revenues of $3.85 billion, up 49% year-over-year. However, the extent to which the company has become a dominant video portal was also detailed. Mark Zuckerberg said Facebook delivered 3 billion video views per day in December, up from 1 billion daily views in the summer. By comparison, YouTube says it delivers 6 billion hours of video a month. Assuming the average video watched is 3 minutes long, that’s equivalent to slightly less than 4 billion videos per day. In other words, Facebook and YouTube are in a virtual tie for the number of videos they deliver.
What happened to catapult Facebook into the upper echelons of online video delivery? Autoplay. With most videos automatically playing when a user visits their Facebook page, it’s easy to see how 1 billion videos in the summer can triple in the space of a few months. Unfortunately, the use of autoplay is having some very negative effects for ad driven sites like Facebook, as videos play even when not in the viewable part of the screen. Advertisers are now pushing to only pay for ads that are actually viewable by the user. This so called viewability standard is causing publishers like Facebook lots of problems.
Twitter delivers 30 second videos
Twitter has: 255 million monthly active users, 500 million tweets per day
This week Twitter introduced the ability for users to shoot, edit and post videos directly through the service. Twitter users have been able to post videos through Vine, the Twitter owned service that allows people to create looping videos. However, including the video posting ability directly in Twitter is a win for users because it eliminates the need to load a separate app and raises the video length restriction to 30 seconds.
Why it matters
Social media has been a primary method for many to discover and share video.
Many social sites are now integrating video features directly into the apps.
Social media video is becoming a dominant force in distribution online.