Considering the splash made by Meerkat and Periscope this spring, it seemed like only a matter of time before Facebook dipped into the live-streaming video stream.
And that time came today, as Facebook announced that it is giving people the ability to share live video on the social network. But the new feature comes with a catch: it’s a VIP-only service.
Only public figures with verified Facebook Pages will be able to launch live-streaming videos via the Facebook Mentions iPhone app. That exclusivity is markedly different than Meerkat and Periscope, which enable anyone to quickly share videos for people to watch and comment on in real time.
Facebook’s offering, called “Live,” is accessed through the Mentions app, which itself is only available for public figures with verified Pages.
By limiting live-streaming availability to public figures — Facebook says Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Serena Williams, Luke Bryan, Ricardo Kaká, Ashley Tisdale, Lester Holt, Martha Stewart, Michael Bublé and others are planning to use the tool in the near future — Facebook will be able to focus on content that likely will be high quality. Like Periscope, Facebook Live videos will be available to view after an event ends.
More professionally created, highly watched content should be good for Facebook’s bottom line. Even though it isn’t saying anything about how it might make money from the new feature, it is easy to imagine Live streams eventually showing up in advertising-supported Suggested Video feature coming later this year.
For marketers, unless you are a marketer of celebrities, there’s not much for you here. Brands that have experimented with Periscope and Meerkat will have to continue using the smaller networks.
We asked Facebook whether there are plans to give business Pages or individuals the ability to live stream. A spokesperson emailed this response:
At the moment, the feature is only for use by public figures, however, Live benefits both people and public figures on Facebook. We know that public figures want the option to share live video with their fans, and that people want to watch videos and engage with the public figures that interest and inspire them. We’ll be listening to feedback from both people and public figures as we continue to evolve this product. We think this update will benefit the Facebook community and ecosystem overall.