Facebook is looking to take up some (more) space on your television.
At Re/code’s Code Media conference on Tuesday, Facebook premiered a new stand-alone app that will enable users to enjoy the social network’s seemingly endless supply of video content on their big screen TVs. The Facebook videos TV app will launch on Apple TV, Samsung Smart TV, and Amazon Fire TV to start; though, there’s no reason to think it won’t be released for other platforms in the future.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg spent a good amount of the company’s Q4 earnings call discussing video, particularly as it relates to advertising—an area Facebook wants to continue expanding in 2017. The company’s focus on video in general is no secret, especially after the company gave the medium its own tab in the core mobile app late last year; however, the launch of an official Facebook videos TV app seems like a real ‘first-step forward’ in declaring itself an official media company.
The two questions will be these: will Facebook users want a stand-alone videos app, and can the company monetize it? The latter is especially important to Wall Street, as even though Facebook has literally hundreds-of-millions of hours of video views daily, the company still isn’t recognizing a significant amount of revenue from video advertising—still mostly relying on standard pre-and post-roll ad units that digital marketers have run for years. Issues with misreported metrics have led to trust concerns among marketers and brands as well, further diminishing Facebook’s revenue margins on video up to this point.
That’s not to say Facebook isn’t progressing on the video front. Just as the TV app was announced at Code Media, Facebook published a post on their Business blog Tuesday introducing vertical videos on mobile. The vertical video format is not only available in Facebook’s News Feed, but in the video feed, Facebook Live, and on Instagram as well—giving advertisers additional opportunities to showcase their more impactful creative.
Finally, Facebook has turned sound on by default for all users when the sound on their mobile device is also on.
The social network enabled video casting to televisions last year via Chromecast & Apple TV, making the Facebook videos TV app the company’s second foray into getting their video content onto larger screens. The app will be available in the coming weeks.