Is Social Media The Future For TV?
Social Media has always been about bringing people, and services, together. In-app purchases, algorithms and ‘stories’ have all been incorporated with the ultimate goal of keeping us online for longer. With this in mind, it can hardly come as a shock that TV has been muscling it’s way into Social Media for some time now. We’re taking you through an up-to-date recap on the state of TV in Social Media at the end of 2019.
Facebook Watch is the free on-demand service brought to the US in August of 2017. This was one of the earliest examples of Social taking on the world of OTT. Facebook Watch is a clever fuse of their video-sharing prowess with original content – such as the fresh 2019 series Limetown. Participating in this service requires nothing more than a Facebook account, making it accessible and widespread – funding is solely acquired through advertisements. The interface is simple, a rolling feed of media that swipes you down to the next video upon completion of your current video – making it ever so easy to get lost in this flow of motivational videos, fail compilations and original shows.
Facebook Watch can’t be viewed as a direct cable replacement service. There’s no channels, just showcase-like pages where you can find episodes of the series they feature. Furthermore, it seems the push of this platform is still centred on short videos that encourage users to engage. Arguably, this is what Facebook has always done best – short videos with viral potential can easily amass tens of millions of views from users, helped along by shares, comments and likes. It makes sense that Facebook would bring this vital video-sharing element of their platform in with their entrance into original on-demand content. Users might be introduced to Watch through the everyday viral videos, but there’s every potential they will stay for original shows like Limetown.
Instagram was brought under the Facebook banner in 2012, so it was expected that a TV feature would follow suit after Facebook Watch was revealed. IGTV was announced in 2018, and the premise was simple – vertical videos, up to one hour long, from the creators you follow. Sounds great, considering videos on the regular Instagram feed are limited to one minute each. IGTV includes recommendations, popular videos and search functionality to help users get stuck into the plethora of content already on the platform. Capitalising on young, amateur content creators as well as established internet personalities (think Kevin Hart & Kim Kardashian), IGTV looks to bring dedicated fans of video to Instagram. As of right now though, there’s no monetization feature in IGTV. It’s still in an infancy stage, so we can only assume that Instagram are gauging the reception to the feature before implementing Ads.
Snapchat found itself in hot water towards the end of 2018 with reports of dwindling popularity. It’s the last social media platform that you’d expect to have a fully fledged TV feature – with humble beginnings in 10-second disappearing pictures and messages. Since then, app redesigns have been frequent, and one such redesign saw the introduction of the ‘discover’ tab. Much like IGTV, this combines content from your favourite personalities (subscriptions), as well as some original content from Snapchat (‘Snap Originals‘). Again, not a direct replacement of cable – this content is often limited to five minute episodes. Unfortunately, the user interface doesn’t help – it requires you to tap the right side of the screen to progress throughout scenes, or you risk replaying the entire scene again. Initially confusing, but once you get the hang of it, you’re in. It adds an element of interactivity, I guess. It can be hard to become invested in the content due to the short and informal nature, but it feels like it belongs. Time will tell how far this content can take the platform in a wider scope.