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Facebook Live: A Progress Report After One Year of Growth
How are organizations such as PBS and TechCrunch using Facebook Live to reach and grow their audiences? The platform has been with us for a year now, so it's time to check in.
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We’ve all known for a while that you can stream live video to Facebook Pages. While the technical side is interesting, the big questions on our minds were who’s doing it and why, how’s it working out for them, and how do they see Facebook Live growing in the future. So we asked vendors with Facebook Live-compatible products to identify some users who would answer a short questionnaire that explored these issues. We received responses from organizations as large as PBS and Oracle to those as small as your local weatherman, with brand managers, a large church, a consultant, a music video producer, the New York Yankees, an Australian rugby team, and many others in between.

Their complete responses, including details of the products they used, are available on this page. In this article, we focus on five questions. Out of necessity, some answers are shortened and lightly edited, but we tried to preserve the original content as much as possible.

We also created a chart based on the vendor questionnaire — click here to find the web’s most comprehensive list of cameras, switchers, encoders, and other tools that are compatible with Facebook Live.

WHAT TYPES OF EVENTS ARE YOU PRODUCING FOR FACEBOOK LIVE?

The YES Network owns the exclusive local TV rights of the New York Yankees, the Brooklyn Nets, and Major League Soccer’s New York City FC. Managing editor Kevin Sullivan, who uses Telestream Wirecast for many live productions, responded to our questions.

There’s no such thing as a “typical event” for us. For example, among our most popular streams is when we simply go live outside of Yankee Stadium at a Yankees game and allow our users to absorb the sights and sounds happening in the Bronx. Our numbers show that the voyeuristic nature of these live videos is appealing to our users. And on the complete other side of the spectrum, we also do a heavily produced weekly live talk show, complete with multiple camera angles, user comments, and graphics normally seen on linear programming.

The YES Network produces many types of events on Facebook Live

Central Valley TV (CVTV) delivers video to a California community underserved by traditional broadcast TV. Photojournalist Carlos Rodriguez uses Teradek Cube for broadcasting live from on-location and answered our questions.

The typical events are mostly breaking news situations. My community is very public-safety oriented. It’s very important to our residents to stay aware of their surroundings and whatever situations may be playing out. Crime incidents, protests, press conferences, emergency situations, traffic, and natural disasters like wildfires and floods.

Central Valley TV delivers breaking news to a California community underserved by broadcast TV.

Krishna De is a digital marketing, brand engagement, and social media speaker, commentator, and mentor.

I use Facebook Live on my main business page to provide visitors with educational content rather than posting an article, a video, or directing them to a separate resource or webinar. I have shared tutorials, tips, previews of events and workshops, and even published a miniseries using Facebook Live. I use Facebook Live on one of my Pages to deliver a weekly show with a co-host and guests. Delivering content using Facebook Live benefits the audience too, as they do not have to leave Facebook to watch the show live.

Brandon Sullivan is an AccuWeather meteorologist who produces for Facebook Live with a Terakek VidiU Pro.

My Facebook Live streams revolve around storm chasing and severe weather. I love to broadcast live right as the storm chase is about to begin, so viewers can see the whole journey, from picking a target, driving to the storm, and then the ultimate thrill of being inside the storm.

WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO STREAM VIA FACEBOOK LIVE?

McBeard is an agency that helps brands like Mary Kay Cosmetics promote their products and services via social media. McBeard producer David Chang, who uses Telestream Wirecast for many of his productions, answered our questions.

Facebook Live allows influencers or talent to connect directly with the audience. It also provides a new and fresh type of content beyond standard photos, graphics, or videos. It’s a completely new experience for fans that allows them to feel more connected to a brand.

McBeard produced this Facebook Live event for Mary Kay Cosmetics. 

The Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks are an Australian rugby league team based in Cronulla, New South Wales. The team publishes to Facebook Live from its Ooyala Live stream. Scott Maxworthy, who is head of digital commercialization for the Sharks, answered our questions.

Very simply, as part of our “people” and fan engagement strategies, we need to be active in the same spaces [in which] our customers are meeting and talking. It’s also about being relevant to your audience and providing some sort of value to them in return for their highly valued attention. The real-time feedback gives viewers the unique opportunity to interact with our hosts and guests (such as the coach and players), which creates a very high level of engagement, media authenticity, responsiveness, and accountability.

Corey Behnke of Live X produced DJI’s recent Mavic Drone product launch, streaming to multiple Facebook Live pages with Teradek T-Rax encoders and Core fleet management platform. Behnke answered our questions.

To get maximum reach, DJI needed to get out to multiple platforms; it streamed to a custom DJI Chinese Portal on the West Coast, its multiple YouTube channels, and its Facebook Pages. Facebook Live allows DJI to reach a huge audience spontaneously that likes its product but may not otherwise know about the launch that day.

Pro Watercross is the leading watercross racing and freestyle circuit in the U.S. Richard Ignacia produces live events for Pro Watercross with the vMix live video mixer; he answered our questions.

Facebook is where the audience is. A majority of the target audience for our sport (Jet Ski racing) had Facebook accounts, and it was simply a matter of a direction to the Facebook Fan Page for our target audience to like and watch the content directly on Facebook. It was also convenient for the viewers to like, share, and comment on the Live Stream content directly and keep the content more engaging as a result of the interaction.

King Jesus Ministry is a Miami-based ministry that broadcasts to Facebook Live using Haivision KulaByte encoders. Andres Brizuela, marketing and public relations director, and Eddy Puerta, from the media department, answered our questions.

Most of our followers spend more time on Facebook than any other platform, and in addition, Facebook notifies them every time that we are live. This helps us reach our target in a more effective manner than with any other live platform at the moment.

King Jesus Ministry says Facebook Live helps it reach its target audience more effectively than any other live platform at the moment.

Twentyfourseven Films streams musical performances on Facebook Live, all produced with cameras and mixers from Blackmagic Design. Managing director Bela Molnar responded.

Most of my projects are related to the music industry/entertainment industry. The music industry is always trying to stay connected to its very elusive young audience and fan base. So it has to try everything that’s brand new—new platforms, any kind of digital campaigns that can keep an artist connected with that young fan base.

Twentyfourseven Films production of Biffy Clyro on Facebook Live

Rodriguez, CVTV: Before Facebook Live, I was using an embedded player on my company’s website. Facebook is a huge trafficker, so it was essential to use Facebook to announce and notify whenever I would broadcast a live news event. It wasn’t the greatest option, but it worked at the time. Since broadcasting via Facebook Live, I have seen traffic for the live broadcast double or even triple on some occasions, plus [there is] significant engagement from viewers.

During the Rio 2016 Olympics, FOX Sports Brasil published content to Facebook Live using Make.TV’s Live Video Cloud. Luis Santos, Director of Engineering and Operations, Fox Latin American Channels, responded.

Facebook Live fits into Fox Sports’ bigger picture of social engagement and reaching people where they are. If they are on Facebook, we want to be on Facebook.

John Marshall is a meteorologist who broadcasts his forecasts directly to viewers from his website and Facebook Live using Boinx mimoLive.

Being a meteorologist, up-to-the minute weather updates are essential to my business. Without Facebook Live, I would not be able to compete in a market flooded (no pun intended) with weather information.

HOW HAS THE SERVICE ITSELF PERFORMED?

Krishna De: Facebook Live itself has been robust as a platform. The challenges are usually from locations where the data connection is not particularly strong or sometimes the third-party tool I have been using has had a problem.

Krishna De uses Facebook Live for multiple types of content, including a weekly show with remote guests.

Behnke, Live X: Facebook Live is robust. The main issues we have are content ID; no 1080 stream, only 720p; and the fact that the audio transcodes down to 96Kbps for VOD. We had a stream stop during the event. We believe it was because iJustine was using copyrighted music, but we don’t know because Facebook is a black box. But we were able to get the stream back up within seconds.

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