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Facebook Files for a $5B IPO; Online Video Community Reacts

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This afternoon, social networking giant Facebook filed to sell shares on the stock market, the first step in going public. The company now counts over 845 million users globally, and hopes to raise $5 billion through the sale.

While Facebook is primarily a social networking site, it's also one of the biggest online video sites. According to comScore's December, 2011, rankings, Facebook was the fifth biggest site for video, with 42 million unique viewers that month alone.

With that kind of clout, and an upcoming IPO that will certainly be the largest ever (perhaps valuing the company near $100 billion), the streaming industry is taking notice. We spoke to several companies whose products interact with Facebook in some way:


"We are excited about the rapid growth and success of Facebook, especially as it relates to the emergence of over-the-top digital television. Using social media, television is already becoming much more interactive with audience participation and real-time feedback. These features are especially valuable for live event programming such as concerts, game shows, and other large scale, live audience events. For example, our plug and play support for features like Facebook insights and Open Graph can give near real-time engagement metrics for better programming and content decisions," said Paul Summers, CEO of AllDigital Holdings, Inc.


"Given its 800 million users, Facebook is an attractive platform for online video viewing, viral marketing, and monetization. With YouTube embeds, Dyyno Share Video app, and a few other video sharing apps, we have seen that Facebook is great for short-form content. Long-form content viewing on Facebook will require some UX improvements as well as APIs for sharing streams and applying needed DRM, of course. Now, with IPO, hopefully Facebook will make things easy in this regard. Another area that could evolve rapidly on the Facebook platform is social TV and companion ads. In sum, the online video ecosystem (consumer electronics, content owners, carriers, and brands) will more comfortably embrace Facebook once its goes public," said Vamshi Sriperumbudur, vice president of marketing for Dyyno.


"Facebook has quickly become a popular outlet for consumers and businesses to leverage the power of online video, and as a public company, it will have additional resources to make greater investments continuing to exploit this powerful medium for business success. We're encouraged at the opportunity this presents for video to grow even more as a tool for communication. As more individuals, enterprises, and media companies leverage social and mobile channels to share videos online, they will need the tools to manage, publish, and deliver that content to multiple platforms, and our services are well-positioned to address this need," said David Hatfield, senior vice president for Limelight Networks.


"The Facebook IPO is a validation of the unique global computing asset the company has created," said Jim McGovern, CEO of MediaPlatform. "I think the corporate world is only just beginning to understand the business impact of this vast social network. Our recent decision to power webcasting through Facebook pages -- a move that has been quickly embraced by a Fortune 500 industrial company -- is intended to give business managers a new way to use the Facebook interface for corporate communications."  


"Some people may think of Facebook as a public media company that, after it's IPO, will likely be larger than Comcast and Disney in terms of market cap," said Trevor Doerksen, founder and CEO of Mobovivo. "With the new cash, Facebook can continue to be an innovative platform used by the entertainment industry, or a media superpower and entertainment brand." 


"The world's largest social networking site is one of the leading video destinations on the web and the leading new programming guide for non-linear video content. According to Ooyala data, for every video shared via Twitter in Q4 2011, there were more than 10 shared on Facebook. The Facebook IPO will only accelerate online video growth. We expect more content providers to deliver even more broadcast-quality videos to people all over the world through this channel. TV Networks, movie studios, broadcasters, and consumer brands will continue to leverage likes and shares to increase the visibility of their content, generate digital revenue, and expand their audiences," said Bismarck Lepe, co-founder and president of products at Ooyala.


"At Xstream, we are very positive about the Facebook IPO. We believe that it will create an openness and availability in the industry that we've never seen before. The Facebook IPO will give us a better insight and knowledge into how the social media business models works where it will be interesting to see the development and economic growth in the hasty growing world of social media," said Frank Thorup, CEO at Xstream.


"The Facebook IPO represents the power the consumer now has in the world of marketing and advertising. In online video, we see an increasing desire by brand advertising clients to leverage social platforms to drive brand marketing goals. The sight, sound, and motion power of video, when amplified by social sharing and commenting, provides brand advertisers with an unprecedented platform for spreading their messages at scale," said Ed Haslam, senior vice president of marketing for YuMe.

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