Facebook has further expanded its efforts in live broadcast with the announcement of two new services. The first concerns FB Bandstand, an integrated space that combines art with technical support to facilitate Facebook Live interactions. The idea is to allow celebrities and artists to connect with their fans from a custom-built location. Facebook Bandstand is currently based out of Facebook’s Mumbai office.
Another new initiative that was announced was Live Audio, which takes the concept of live video without the need for the user to constantly keep their screen on. The concept of Live Audio was first announced by Facebook back in December but it is now being introduced in the Indian market.
Speaking about the FB Bandstand initiative, Saurabh Doshi, Head of Media Partnerships at Facebook, said, “Artists and celebrities from across the world and India are using Facebook LIVE to connect with their fans, interact and engage in real time in an authentic and refreshing way. FB Bandstand is a unique space for talent to be able to go live easily in a creative and fun way when they visit the FB office in Mumbai. We hope we get to view many fun and memorable moments created at FB Bandstand.”
Live video is a matter of great interest to all major platforms such as Periscope, Facebook and YouTube. YouTube already supports limited live video on desktop and the company this week announced that users will soon be able access and broadcast live on mobile devices soon, starting with popular YouTubers before making it open to everyone. In December, Twitter announced that users can now go live directly from the Twitter app without having to download Periscope, its dedicated live streaming application.
Doshi informed us that Facebook Bandstand would be available for all categories of users, from film and television actors, musicians, sportspersons, journalists, etc. and will be free of charge, depending on the availability of the premise. When asked whether Facebook has any plans to monetise Bandstand, he said, “Some months back we had rolled out some ad breaks in Live Video. These were tests that we were running in the US, so based on the outcome of tests, this could be a potential revenue model in the future. Right now, celebs look at it as a way to connect with fans and not from a revenue perspective.” He further stated that the aim for Facebook currently is to educate users about the potential of various products, including Live video and audio.
Biswamitra Ray, Strategic Partner Development (Entertainment) at FB, told us that FB Bandstand has seen a great response. “We expect at least three celebrities from the entertainment space every week in office to use FB Bandstand,” he said. However, he said that the company does not plan to create a regular series with celebrities, something like what YouTube is planning with popular YouTubers. Earlier, Facebook had informed that it is tying up with third-party content creators for exclusive content on the platform. Globally, according to media reports, the company has signed nearly 140 contracts with content creators and celebrities for a total worth of $50 million.
The online video is expected to be the fastest growing category on mobile as well as desktop in the coming years