The Facebook NPE experimental team has released its eighth app – and the third this week – with a new side event tool called the Venue, which aims to increase the interaction potential when viewing in real time.
“Despite the fact that viewers are attracted by a large number of simultaneous viewers, live broadcasts are still mostly viewed alone. Passionate fans are constantly looking for the best ways to interact with other fans and experts in their favorite events. The purpose of the event is to give fans an interactive second-screen experience supervised by experts and focused on key points of their favorite events.
It works so that for each live event of, say, the latest NASCAR race, Facebook will provide selected individuals, such as journalists, athletes and / or “fan analytics,” with their own “Place” in the app., This place will serve a center where users can access the thoughts and views of each commentator (you can see an example of these places in the first screenshot above).
“During the race they will give comments, ask interactive questions and polls, and also open short chats dedicated to specific moments of the race. Think of commentators as personal concierges of the main event. ”
Selected individuals will also be able to create “Moments” in their event streams focused on specific events:
“Fans will be notified whenever a new moment is created so that they can enter and leave the hall if they wish.”
The idea is that by providing alerts at certain times, fans can watch the event as usual, and then register when a discussion of trends occurs, which makes it easier to grasp the second screen.
The second view has become a key component of sports interaction – according to a previous Facebook study, about 94% of people now have a smartphone on hand while watching live TV. Social platforms have been trying for years to find a better way to use this use case, but so far none of them have been able to break into the correct formula that would better combine watching live TV with social media involvement.
In fact, Facebook was trying to better adapt to playing sports in real time back in 2016 with an option called “Sports Stadium” in its main application. The sports stadium has provided a specific center for each sporting event, from a range of leagues and competitions, allowing users to follow and discuss around each.
It was an attempt by Facebook to steal interaction with Twitter – while Facebook as a whole has more users, Twitter has become a key companion for real-time events, including sports, because of its real-time rate of fire.
But even Twitter could not maximize this interaction. With a large number of people discussing live events, including sports, Twitter sought to broadcast more live sports content, essentially combining the two elements into a single platform. However, despite the broadcast agreements with both the NFL and MLB, Twitter hasn’t come up with a more ideal format for combining broadcasts and tweets, and fans prefer to plunge into the real-time discussion of their choice, rather than say, see tweets on screen next to the main event.
Maybe Venues can do this – perhaps by providing a number of opinions from different commentators, looking from different angles, Venues will provide the best companion for watching live events, while Facebook also essentially recognizes that users don’t necessarily want to watch the event and interact with social content on one screen.
Could this provide Facebook with a new way to engage in live events?
Definitely now is the time. Although most sports are on hold (Facebook originally collaborated with NASCAR for Venues, one of the first sports to return during the pandemic), live viewing has increased by 50%, and more and more users are paying attention to several sports are available, and due to the fact that there will soon be even more opportunities for sports, the addition of a new way of viewing can help introduce new ways of viewing, providing another element of experience.
Perhaps with the right alternative commentators, with the right notifications and format, Venues really can be a great companion app that will finally let Facebook connect to live events. It can also be extended to concerts, festivals, news events, etc.
We will have to wait and see how it all ends, but it is clear that Facebook uses almost all the new trends and opportunities that it sees through its NPE team.
As already noted, this is the eighth new application from the Facebook team “New Product Experimentation” over the past six months, which emphasizes a more aggressive approach to dealing with potential competitors. In the past, Facebook has attracted the attention of apps like Snapchat, Houseparty, and TikTok. Facebook has always tracked to some extent these growing usage trends, but its new strategy suggests that it’s going to act this way at an early stage to strangle competitors before they can take hold – as opposed to releasing mimic functionality after they gained momentum.
Thus, most of these new applications are likely to fail – but Facebook only needs one to stop a potential rival. If, for example, Facebook launched Instagram Stories before Snapchat sees significant growth, Snapchat probably will never have a chance. Had Facebook released a multi-member video before Houseparty reached its first million users, perhaps it would have dominated this trend ahead of time.
Therefore, although most of these new applications are pretty niche, that’s the point – Facebook is looking for the next trend, the next niche for behavior, which will actually lead to another big shift before anyone else can benefit from it.
And on a Facebook scale, this is probably the only company that can release new applications at such a high speed. This will make it more difficult for another bidder to strike.