Facebook Watch Readies Original Content for Summer, Fall

Social giant Facebook revealed that its strategy for building viewership of Facebook Watch is paying off, saying it is experiencing “big momentum” for the platform with original shows such as Jada Pinkett Smith’s “Red Table Talk” and “Sorry for Your Loss” with Elizabeth Olsen. Facebook Watch, since its launch two years ago, has a global daily user base of 140 million people who each spend an average of 26 minutes per day watching videos, nearly double from 75 million daily users in December who watched 20 minutes daily. Facebook has inked a series of partnerships and has more original content on its way. Continue reading Facebook Watch Readies Original Content for Summer, Fall

Facebook Adjusts Video Strategy to Favor Long-Form Content

Facebook raised the requirements for inserting advertisements in videos posted on its site and is tweaking its News Feed algorithm to favor pages whose videos draw regular viewers. In doing so, Facebook is buoying the value of longer videos and strengthening its Watch service, but both moves are also potentially frustrating for video publishers already concerned with poor financial returns. Producers’ short videos perform well in the News Feed and longer form videos will require them to expend more resources. Continue reading Facebook Adjusts Video Strategy to Favor Long-Form Content

Facebook Lifts Ban on Pre-Roll Ads, in Beta Tests for Watch

Facebook has resisted the practice of pre-roll ads. Now, according to knowledgeable advertisers, in a major shift the company says it plans to test such ads for Watch shows. The ban on pre-roll ads came directly from chief executive Mark Zuckerberg who stressed that users came to the site to look at a feed, not watch one specific piece of content. This year, however, Facebook debuted Watch, where TV studios, publishers and celebrities can try to sell advertising against their shows, an ideal format for pre-roll ads. Continue reading Facebook Lifts Ban on Pre-Roll Ads, in Beta Tests for Watch

Pluto TV Now Offers Free On-Demand Movies and TV Shows

In addition to its more than 100 TV-like linear channels, Pluto TV is now offering thousands of free movies and TV shows on demand via its streaming platform. Pluto TV is expanding its “ad-supported service with VOD as it positions itself as a kind of Spotify for premium video,” reports Variety. “It’s worth noting that Ken Parks, Pluto’s executive chairman, was Spotify’s first U.S. employee and led the music streamer’s negotiations with record labels.” The startup, which launched in 2014 and currently touts more than six million monthly viewers, may introduce a hybrid free/subscription model in the future. Continue reading Pluto TV Now Offers Free On-Demand Movies and TV Shows

Snapchat Preps for IPO with Metrics, Stricter Publishing Rules

Snapchat just updated its guidelines for publishers, who are now restricted from posting on Discover so-called questionable pictures devoid of news or editorial value, or providing links to or reports of fake news, stressing that all content must be accurate and fact-checked. In Feburary, Snapchat will offer publishers a tool to “age-gate” content, with the option for preventing minors from seeing some content altogether. These guidelines are being introduced as parent company Snap Inc. is preparing for an IPO. Continue reading Snapchat Preps for IPO with Metrics, Stricter Publishing Rules

Media Publishers Testing Video Content on Instagram Stories

Many media publishers creating content for Snapchat Discover are now gravitating to the new Instagram Stories. CNN, Food Network, People, Comedy Central, Cosmopolitan and Tastemade are now regularly producing Instagram Stories and respectable numbers of viewers are watching. AwesomenessTV, a tween/teen site, is even running ads on the new platform. Stories on Snapchat and Instagram, which disappear after 24 hours, are a package of phone images and/or videos that are annotated and embellished with graphics and emoticons. Continue reading Media Publishers Testing Video Content on Instagram Stories

Facebook Inks Video Deals with Media Brands and Celebrities

In a bid to fill the Facebook Live pipeline with high quality video, Facebook has inked deals with almost 140 media companies including CNN, The New York Times, Vox Media, Tastemade, Mashable and The Huffington Post, and celebrities including Kevin Hart, Gordon Ramsay, Deepak Chopra and NFL quarterback Russell Wilson. With these high-profile media contracts, Facebook plans to tap into a potentially lucrative advertising market, as well as more deeply engage its 1.65 billion monthly users. Continue reading Facebook Inks Video Deals with Media Brands and Celebrities

YouTube Builds Daydream VR App, Immersive Content Catalog

Shortly after Google unveiled its Daydream VR system during its I/O conference, YouTube revealed its plans for a virtual reality app, to be available on Daydream mobile VR devices. YouTube has also been encouraging its content partners to produce 360-degree content by providing VR cameras, in an effort to build up content for its VR app, which will function like YouTube on mobile or a smart TV. The app, which is being built from scratch, will be full-featured and enable access to subscriptions, favorites, search and more. Continue reading YouTube Builds Daydream VR App, Immersive Content Catalog

Facebook Live Partners with Broadcast, Aims to Share Profits

Since Facebook rolled out Live to everyone in December, it’s quickly built momentum, distinguishing itself from YouTube and other video platforms, and building a massive audience. Although Facebook had to overcome a range of technical challenges to enable hundreds of thousands of phones to stream at the same time, it used its expertise and engineering capacity to do so. Now, Facebook is encouraging celebrities and broadcasters to create Live content, and is also working on a business model to share eventual revenues. Continue reading Facebook Live Partners with Broadcast, Aims to Share Profits

Spotify Introducing Video Content to Music Streaming Service

Spotify will debut video content on its Android app this week, and the iOS app by end of next week, in the U.S., the U.K., Germany and Sweden. Originally, the music streaming service planned to offer video in May, but has focused on testing videos on its apps with less than 10 percent of its users in the four launch markets. The content is mostly comprised of short clips from ESPN, Comedy Central, the BBC, Vice Media and Maker Studios, among others. Some companies, like Tastemade, are creating original, music-themed series. Continue reading Spotify Introducing Video Content to Music Streaming Service

Facebook Channels Realize Explosive Growth with Food Videos

Facebook hasn’t been promoting videos for that long, but it’s already found its killer content: food videos. Leading the pack is BuzzFeed’s Tasty channel on Facebook, which posts clips on such mouth-watering delights as “loaded cheese-stuffed mashed potato balls.” Launched July 31, Tasty generated more video views than anyone else on Facebook by October, according to analytics firm Tubular Labs. Coming in No. 2 was BuzzFeed again, which posts food videos galore on its main Facebook channel. Continue reading Facebook Channels Realize Explosive Growth with Food Videos

CNN Launches Vice-Style Web Video Series ‘Great Big Story’

CNN is launching its new digital media brand, Great Big Story, which will focus on positive, newsy video stories, with an initial push on Facebook. In addition to streaming content to its website and apps for iOS and Android devices, Great Big Story will also feed to YouTube, Apple News, Snapchat, and connect to users through smart TVs, specifically on Apple TV, Roku, Amazon and Chromecast. Facebook has become a popular site for several video publishers, among them BuzzFeed and Business Insider. Continue reading CNN Launches Vice-Style Web Video Series ‘Great Big Story’

Facebook Plans to Push More Videos and Share Ad Revenue

Videos on Facebook garner 4 billion views a day — 75 percent on smartphones — and the company is increasing its efforts to turn views into profits. Its newly unveiled strategy is to share ad revenue with video creators, both to attract better content and more ads. Facebook will keep 45 percent of the revenue, similar to YouTube’s revenue model, but the two differ in a significant way: Facebook will divide the creators’ 55 percent share of ad revenue among all the videos that appear adjacent to the ad, based on how long users watch each video. Continue reading Facebook Plans to Push More Videos and Share Ad Revenue

Facebook Partners with Disney, Vice and Others on Video Ads

Facebook has launched a new marketing initiative called Anthology that enables advertisers to work with seven media partners to create sponsored videos. The company says that its media partners — The Onion, Vice, Disney, Funny or Die, Tastemade, Vox, and Electus Digital’s CollegeHumor — know how to get the most out of the Facebook platform. These video ads are one way that Facebook may be able to keep advertising, and soon publishing content, under its own roof. Continue reading Facebook Partners with Disney, Vice and Others on Video Ads

The Los Angeles Tech Scene is Making a New Name for Itself

The Los Angeles tech scene — from Santa Monica to Irvine to West Adams — has been booming in recent years. According to open source map Represent.LA, there are now 889 startups in the region. Many LA tech entrepreneurs got started with cheap mobile apps that quickly became profitable. They focus on creativity and aesthetics, tap celebrities when needed, and remain open to products designed just for fun. And the sunny LA weather and cheaper rent attracts talent from around the world. Continue reading The Los Angeles Tech Scene is Making a New Name for Itself