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Why Scheduling Has Come To Facebook Live

Photo of Tim Mulligan
by Tim Mulligan

Today’s rollout of live video scheduling on Facebook is both a strategic move of vision and a tantamount recognition that the current iteration now requires modification. From today verified page administrators on the social media site will be able to schedule a live video broadcast up-to one week in advance and provide an embeddable link and a virtual waiting room for interested Facebook users to utilize in advance of the live stream. Users who have liked the verified pages will be able to receive a notification on their newsfeed about the forthcoming broadcast and the page owners have a link to help promote their broadcast ahead of its live airing.

The platform maybe different but the dynamics remain the same

Although a social media platform initially appears to be a wildly different delivery mechanism for live video content from traditional broadcast TV, they both face the same challenges when it comes to live. How do you let interested possible viewers know in advance that you are going to be broadcasting compelling live content, so that you can create the audience anticipation necessary to break through the consumer attention funnel and book their time commitment to view the live video feed? The challenge is creating the mechanism that enables the consumer to book “an intention to view.”

In the old linear TV days, booking intention to view was relatively straightforward. TV operators had a monopoly on premium video content and through the TV set, the consumer’s leisure preferences in the home. They knew that through simple scheduling, they would have a viewing commitment from a predictable percentage of TV viewers and they could sell advertising on the back of this audience estimation. Around this basic premise selective teasers for the live content could be trailed ahead of time and audience awareness could be effectively ensured. In the digital era, there is no monopoly on access to premium content and no guarantee of audience engagement. Social video faces the double challenge of both cutting through the digital clutter to appeal to prospective viewers and being able to reach them at a time when they are prepared to commit to watch the content.

Live video on social media needs to be effectively curated

Social media thrives on video, but it is has inherent risks as a platform for video producers. With so much activity taking place on a platform such as Facebook, video, especially live video becomes one of many possible attention commanding activities for the Facebook user. Consumers do not log into Facebook with the primary expectation of watching a video, so the chances of video content being lost in the multitude of activity demands upon the Facebook user is high.

With live video commanding far greater cache for digital audiences due to its scarcity and experiential value, the need to be able to navigate around the range of live video streams on social media is a huge issue. Facebook’s live broadcast scheduling feature is a significant step in the right direction towards resolving this challenge.

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