Digital Video

Live Streaming Just Got a Huge Boost

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Live streaming got a big boost this year when Facebook introduced its Live initiative. Facebook appears to have made the Live initiative its biggest priority since pouring everything into winning mobile a few years back.

First, it let celebrities like Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson stream themselves live, then everyone else. In March, it changed its algorithm to show live video more often in the news feed. In April, it made live video interactive with viewer reactions such as likes, and made it prominent with a video hub on the mobile app. It now has live video running in more than 60 countries and counting.

And at its recent F8 conference, Facebook opened the gates to streaming from any device, including drones and high-definition cameras. It was a big advancement that means more high-quality live video, from branded content to news to sports, could run on the platform, making Facebook potentially a bigger rival to both YouTube and traditional TV.

Over 45 minutes on April 8, a pair of increasingly excited BuzzFeed staffers wrapped a watermelon in rubber bands until it exploded. Live video of their project on Facebook racked up some 800,000 concurrent viewers and more than 300,000 comments.

Several brands have been experimenting already. Chevrolet partnered with Facebook to use Live to launch its new Bolt EV model at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. Southwest Airlines used Live from its command center as a major winter storm was hitting. And Kate Spade used Live to broadcast its New York Fashion Week show.

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