DMEXCO 2016: Facebook Bets Big on a Virtual Reality Video Future

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Facebook has a 1-, 5-, and 10-year plan, said Will Platt-Higgins, vice president of global account partnerships for Facebook. Virtual reality is a big part of its 5- and 10-year plans.

"We believe virtual reality is very likely to be the next computing platform," Platt-Higgins said, speaking at the DMEXCO marketing conference in Cologne, Germany. The first platform was desktop and the current is mobile. VR will be the futre.

When people object that no one is going to haul around a VR headset with them, Platt-Higgins notes that the first generation of cell phone was much bigger than the models we slide in our pockets today. VR technology will change rapidly in a short number of years, he said.

Facebook is now shifting to a mobile-first philosophy, with video a key part of that evolution. The shift changes how the social network creates products. It launched Facebook Live last summer, Platt-Higgins said, starting with a small rollout. It was a success from the start, with "just tremendous interest in it across our community." Live's success comes from the ability to drive unscripted and raw moments, as well as giving viewers the ability to react. "It allows every one of us to be our own independent content producer with a global reach."

Just last month Facebook launched Instagram Stories. Instagram is for highlights, Platt-Higgins noted; Instagram Stories is for the moments in between the highlights. Brands including J. Crew and Starbucks jumped on the new offering from the start, he said.

"We get very concerned when things aren't failing, because it means we're not innovating enough," Platt-Higgins added.

Consumers now take in over three hours of mobile content per day, with video a growing amount of that. Facebook serves over 100 million hours of video every day. Additionally, 75 percent of all mobile data will be video by 2020. The reason for video's growth is simple, Platt-Higgins said: "It's because video's awesome."

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