Move Over Periscope, Facebook Wants In On Live Video Streaming

The hottest social media trend of 2015 has been the rise of ‘live broadcast’ companies that allow users to share their perspective on life using nothing more than the camera(s) on their phone. These companies have found a way to make a real impression on the overcrowded digital business space in a very small amount of time, so it should come as little to no surprise that the world’s largest social platform, Facebook, is now preparing to introduce their own real-time video streaming service in the new year.

According to a post on Music3Point0, Facebook quietly began testing a live broadcast tool with select users earlier this month. The tool has been available to big brands for a few months, but the company is only just now beginning to share this feature with everyday users. The testing is in its beta stage right now, with a full public release expected in early 2016.

Beta testers have found that you’ll be able to see both the people that are currently viewing your broadcast as well as the real-time comments.

What will separate Facebook’s live broadcast feature from that of other services is the ability to specify who is able to access each stream. This means that you, page owners and users, can designate your broadcast to be seen just by your fans, followers, a group, or even a small group of friends or family. Have a big tour announcement? Invite everybody. Need to share the news of a new baby? Make it personal and only allow those you care about the most to join. Facebook aims to make this specificity the thing that sets them apart.

Also, all broadcasts will live forever on your timeline, or at least as long as you desire to have them available. This differs from Meerkat and Periscope, which only keeps user videos for a limited amount of time (usually a day or less).

The one disadvantage to Facebook’s live broadcast service is the need to be logged into Facebook in order to participate, and the videos of previous broadcast will only be able to be viewed on Facebook itself. This mean no exporting no sharing to other networks. In a time when more and more people are finding the social platform too crowded and busy to be of much real use, Facebook is hoping great services like this will give users a reason to remain committed to the site.

The news of Facebook’s decision to enter the live broadcast market is sure to worry those working at Periscope and Meerkat. Those companies combined 12 million registered users is nothing compared to 1.5 billion people registered on Facebook. If Facebook’s broadcast tool offers high quality streaming that is easy to operate, there is a good chance the companies currently leading the live broadcast discussion could fall behind the social media giant.

Are you excited for Facebook to enter the live broadcast world? Comment below and let us know your thoughts!

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.