Facebook Testing Pre-Loaded ‘Instant Videos’

Facebook is testing a new mobile app feature called Instant Videos that downloads video clips for later viewing whenever a user's phone is connected to Wi-Fi, to save from burning through their mobile data plan.

First spotted by The Next Web's Matt Navarra and later confirmed by TechCrunch, the feature will identify pre-loaded and cached videos in the news feed with a lightning bolt icon so that users know they can watch them for free while on the go.


The Instant Video feature is in a similar vein to Facebook's Instant Articles, the hosted content format that loads much faster than mobile websites and negates the need to wait for a separate web app to load the content. Likewise, publishers could see the new feature as a way to get their video clips maximum exposure on the social network.

The feature could also benefit Facebook's own original content push, with video organized under the new Watch tab, allowing users to cache episodes for viewing on their daily commute.

According to TechCrunch, the Instant Video test is currently only available to a small number of Android users, as the company lays the groundwork for more budget-conscious users in the developing world. But it's likely the feature will eventually make its way over to Facebook's iPhone app if the mini rollout is deemed successful.


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Facebook’s ‘Higher End’ Version of YouTube Said to Be Ready for Mid-August Launch

Earlier in May, news came out that Facebook was working to develop a slate of television shows that would combine short 5-10 minute videos with big-budget, cable-length dramatic series in a new video section on the popular social network. After a delay, people familiar with the company's plans are pointing towards a mid-August debut for the new TV-focused Facebook update (via Bloomberg).

Facebook is said to be asking its video partners to deliver the first episodes of their "spotlight shows," mainly focusing on the shorter and more inexpensive programs that will run under 10 minutes in length. The longer marquee series will launch "later on the site," and presumably on the main iOS app and video-focused Apple TV app.

Facebook Video for Apple TV launched earlier in February

Despite being delayed numerous times already, the people close to the project said that "further delays could occur." Eventually, the new video section of Facebook will combine both scripted and user-generated content, with Bloomberg describing Facebook's aim to create a "higher end" version of YouTube. While the company is funding hour-long, TV-style shows, those close to the project said that it is refraining from directly competing with the likes of Netflix, HBO, and Showtime.
The company has been asking its partners to turn in the first episodes of their spotlight shows, the people said. Some already have finished these short-form, inexpensive programs. Facebook is also funding higher-end TV-style shows, which will be launched later on the site, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans aren’t public.

The new video section will offer the social network’s more than 2 billion users a mix of scripted and user-generated content. Facebook aims to make something higher-end than Google’s YouTube, but it’s not competing with video producers such as Netflix, HBO and Showtime.
Even though it doesn't want to enter the market as a competitor to such big networks, Facebook hopes to use the TV content to gain a cut of the overall advertising market that's traditionally associated with cable networks. To this end, Facebook has already hired former MTV executive Mina Lefevre to oversee its push into original TV shows, one of which is said to be a dating series from media partner Condé Nast.

Original TV production is becoming a focus for many companies that aren't normally associated with scripted television content, with Snapchat having already launched short-form shows on its app, and Twitter gearing up for a big 24/7 live news network in partnership with Bloomberg.

Apple Music has also become Apple's home for its first original TV content, having debuted Planet of the Apps in June and getting ready for the launch of Carpool Karaoke: The Series in August. Down the line, Apple intends to launch its own traditional TV-length dramatic content with shows from potential partners like J.J. Abrams, guided by two former Sony executives who are helping to create the slate of original TV shows.


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Facebook Launches ‘Video’ App for Fourth-Generation Apple TV

Facebook tonight launched its Facebook Video app for the fourth-generation, tvOS-based Apple TV. The app allows users to watch videos from friends, liked pages, top live videos and more.


Videos are split into six channels: Shared by Friends, Following, Recommended for You, Top Live Videos, Saved Videos and Recently Watched. Following contains videos by both friends and liked pages while Shared by Friends only lists videos from friends.

The app is more robust than Facebook's fullscreen video mode on the web or iOS, which only lists select recommendations and autoplays the next video in the recommendation queue.

Earlier this month, Facebook's VP of Partnerships said the app would not feature ads at launch and will require a Facebook account to use. Facebook is also reportedly in discussions with media companies to license long-form "premium" content to bolster its video selection.

The app is not a standalone app. Instead, it's built into Facebook for iOS. Apple TV users will access the video app while iOS users will only be able to access the standard Facebook app.

Facebook Video is available in the Apple TV App Store for free [Direct Link]


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