Facebook's next target platform is everyone's TVs, after staking a firm foothold in both desktop and mobile spaces. Yes, the world's largest social networking site is pushing to inch its presence toward a platform it postdates, which is odd, if slightly amusing.
Facebook Arrives On Your TV
The company said on Tuesday it has built a connected video app for TVs, promising that the new app will roll out in a few weeks for a slew of devices, including the Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Samsung Smart TVs, and to different set-top boxes in the future.
Facebook Videos On A Bigger Screen
The app will let any Facebook user view videos on the site on their own TV, whether it's content shared by a friend, recommended and placed atop the newsfeed, or a Facebook Live video. Additionally, users may also view previously saved, shared, and uploaded videos on the site using the app, as per a report by Forbes.
The forthcoming app could serve Facebook in securing more advertising revenue out of the $70 billion television advertising market. Facebook's TV inroad will allow it to carve an additional space for showing ads, which are one of the primary revenue generators for social media companies. The service, too, could potentially feature longer, more compelling programming, the licensing for which is already being considered by Facebook as it approaches media companies.
The TV app reiterates Facebook's intention to make the company "video-first," at a time when demand for video is increasingly ballooning, given how people can easily access a wide range of content provided by Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and others, at present. Facebook has taken that demand and made the format a rising priority for the company, which will be integrated for consumer features and advertisements.
"I see video as a mega trend on the same order as mobile," said Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's CEO, to investors early February. "That's why we're going to keep putting video first across our family of apps and making it easier for people to capture and share video in new ways."
Updates Regarding Facebook Videos
Aside from the imminent arrival of Facebook's new TV app, the company also announced a few changes related to how videos will behave on the site.
As reported by Business Insider, Facebook videos will now play with the sound automatically set on in the news feed, as long as the user's phone's sound is also on. For phones set to silent mode, videos will be muted until tapped. The move comes after Facebook reportedly tested videos with automatic sound in recent months, earning a positive response.
Vertical videos will now expand to fill the screen. Those who have filmed videos in portrait mode and uploaded them to Facebook in the past should find this change handy.
More importantly, videos will now continue playing in a thumbnail at the bottom of the screen — like it does on YouTube's mobile app — so users can keep scrolling through their newsfeed.
Facebook: Nope, Our TV App Isn't A Netflix Killer
While keen to occupy itself a seat in the race for video, Facebook's TV app is meant to complement watching videos on the site, not to ruffle Netflix's feathers, as it were, according to Dan Rose, Facebook's VP of partnerships.
He said that Facebook users often hoard videos for later viewing, and that the cache manages to stack up, with the user failing to find the right time to finish them all.
"Now it's easy to watch on your TV if you want to do that," said Rose, noting that Facebook wants people to access and consume content using whichever platform they pick. "But we're a mobile-first company, so the products we build will always be oriented around the experience you have on a mobile device when you're watching video."