Facebook offers a reach comparable to YouTube and is already an integral part of any creator’s social marketing mix. As one video executive told us, when it comes to marketing and distribution online, YouTube and Facebook are the only game in town. Other social platforms don’t matter as much.
But where this starts to get interesting is how Facebook is stealthily readying itself to take YouTube head on.
The social giant’s true potential within the digital video ecosystem was first evidenced by the success YouTube star Ray William Johnson had in pre-releasing his “Riley Rewind” web series on Facebook a day before windowing it to YouTube. Johnson claimed that the series did 10 million views on Facebook in that one day.
Couple that with the seamless integration of Instagram video, the VOD provider Screenburn, which was used to re-release Katy Perry’s documentary “Part of Me”, the LiveRail acquisition for video advertising tech and the new mobile related-videos feature and you can start to assemble Facebook’s strategy in hitting at the major features YouTube, and other OTT services, offer.
And then, in March, Facebook hired former Ryan Seacrest Productions SVP Sibyl Goldman as head of entertainment
partnerships, responsible for securing partnerships with studios, networks, celebrities, and other creative talent.
Multiple industry sources tell us that Goldman and her team have talked with YouTube talent and producers to distribute content on the social network. Publicly, Goldman has promoted the added value provided by Facebook’s own video player. “Videos generally tend to reach more people when published natively,” she said during a recent session at VidCon, a point that was confirmed by fellow panelist Justine Ezarik.
However, with a little sleuthy digging and tips from our sources, we’ve found there are quite a few prominent figures actively using and testing Facebook’s player.
One such company that is seemingly finding success using Facebook’s player is Buzzfeed, with its dedicated Buzzfeed Video page, where it’s generating thousands of likes and comments per video post. Some of these videos live only on Facebook while others are syndicated on YouTube as well.
Maker Studios is another company using Facebook’s player for show Nacho Punch. Full episodes of the show can be found uploaded into the Facebook timeline. However Maker is still using YouTube for episodes and the annotations functionality, a feature which Facebook has yet to add, but looking at Nacho Punch’s timeline on Facebook, it includes a blend of both players, likely an A/B test approach.
Similarly, in a much more tepid approach, Upworthy, the website for viral content, is also being very indiscriminate in its choice of video player. Facebook native video, YouTube, and Vimeo embeds can be found across their Facebook page and social feeds.
However, when asked if Facebook is developing a partner program of some type, Goldman was noncommittal. “Right now, we’re focusing on driving video consumption, sharing, and engagement with fans.”
Even further, Facebook doesn’t have to get into the premium content creation business to entice advertisers to the platform. As long as it continues to educate influencers on the power of the native player while it incrementally strengthens its footing, the mega-giant could move the needle in terms of competing with YouTube.
Best guess on the 5 other companies readying themselves to cut into the YouTube pie? Find out here.