Remember the ice bucket challenge last summer? At its peak, no fewer than one billion people were viewing Facebook videos. Fast-forward six months to the present and that number (as revealed by Mark Zuckerberg while announcing Facebook’s quarterly financial results this week) has quadrupled to four billion daily views.
Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer, Sheryl Sandberg, threw in an extra statistic for good measure: 75 per cent of global video views on the network are happening on mobile devices. With trends like this, mobile video, she believes, is well on course to becoming vitally important to marketers. More and more of them, she added, will be putting mobile video content at the heart of their campaigns in the future (and Facebook, of course, is insisting that it’s ideally positioned to drive that shift).
The more hard-headed marketers may raise a sceptical eyebrow at this point: the figures may be inflated by the phenomenon of videos playing automatically in news feeds without actually being watched. But Facebook provides its partners not only with data about the average duration of their views (with a view being defined as watching for three or more seconds) but also how many times videos were viewed for up to 95 per cent of their total duration.
When asked whether Facebook was about to get more involved in commissioning or buying professionally made, original video content (like TV shows – think House of Cards on Netflix), Zuckerberg was a little coy in his response:
“Right now, a lot of what people are sharing are their social videos and content. There are a lot of public figures that have pages, often with millions or tens of millions of followers, producing unique and really high-quality content that they’re pushing out to all their fans on the network today,” he said.
“So, yeah, we’ll continue looking at ways to grow that and it’s – the product experience that we have right now is growing quite well so we feel good about it.”
The TV industry, however, is ablaze with chatter about Facebook getting into original TV production. Earlier this month, Zodiak Media’s CEO, Marc-Antoine d’Halluin claimed it’s only a matter of time before Facebook starts buying production companies.
The face of video production could be about to undergo a radical makeover.