Video is not front and center on Facebook. It’s a tiny link in the sidebar of a member’s homepage that many hardly notice. They are probably more familiar with the random videos from friends that sort of pop up in their News feeds. Often those videos are from YouTube, but increasingly they are hosted on Facebook itself. In fact, since Facebook launched its own internal video feature in 2007, 45 million videos have been uploaded. About 100,000 are added every day. And that is for a feature that is practically hidden.
Today, Facebook is making some improvements to its video-sharing service. The quality will be bumped up to 720p, which is technically the low end of HD. Coincidentally (or not), YouTube turned on an HD-quality option on Friday.
The key change, though, is that the videos will now be embeddable on other sites. This is also something that has been a standard for a long time at YouTube, MySpace, and practically every other video site. But Facebook is adding a privacy twist. Just as on Facebook, you can determine exactly who can see any video you upload. Those privacy settings will be maintained across the Web. Anyone will be able to see public videos. But if you set it so that only your friends can see it, the video won’t play unless those friends are currently logged into Facebook.
Given the sheer scale of Facebook, making videos embeddable will no doubt give its video efforts a much needed boost, especially if people just embed public videos. But will it be enough for Facebook to close the video gap with arch-competitor MySpace, and maybe even nip at YouTube’s heels?
October, 2008, comScore Video Metrix:
|Unique video viewers||7 million||51 million||344 million|
|Videos Streamed||21 million||411 million||5.3 billion|
|Total Minutes Watched||32 million||449 million||12.3 billion||Avg. videos/viewer||3||8||53|