After previously limiting Facebook Live to celebrities and public figures, the move is aimed at capitalising on the growing digital video advertising market. Facebook users now watch 100 million hours of video daily on the social networking service.
Japan’s Line Corporation also offers a live video-sharing service on its own social media platform, which is widely used in Thailand.
Both Facebook and Line seek to overtake YouTube’s video-sharing service and traditional television as the primary destination to view visual media.
“Facebook Live will enable people to connect with friends, family and fans in a way that’s more lively,” said, Will Cathcart, vice-president for product management at Facebook, during a recent live video conference with Southeast Asian news media.
Facebook users watch live videos three times longer than normal videos, he added.
Mr Cathcart said Facebook was working closely with content creators to help them monetise and build their businesses on Facebook. In the long term, the company envisions a video ecosystem that is supported by a revenue-sharing model.
Ariya Bhanomyong, managing director of Line Thailand, said the company rolled out its video-sharing feature by broadcasting live concerts. It is also helping venue owners use digital marketing to reach concert-goers via the Line platform.
Burin Kledmanee, chief operating officer of Ready Planet, a local digital media agency, said social media players had jumped onto the live broadcasting bandwagon, potentially threatening the fate of TV broadcasters.
Siwat Chawareewong, president of Digital Advertising Association (Thailand), said live streaming was one of social media users’ favourite features.
Content creators can use new alternative channels, Facebook Live and Line Live, to reach audiences and generate ad revenue, he said.
A report conducted by the Digital Advertising Association said Facebook’s ad revenue in Thailand had surpassed that of YouTube for 2014-15.
Facebook’s ad revenue increased to B1.9 billion in 2015, up from B980 million in 2014. YouTube’s ad revenue was B1.59 billion in 2015, up from B854 million in 2014.
By contrast, Facebook’s ad revenue was B255 million in 2013, while YouTube generated B472 million.
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