Last week marked the 10-year anniversary of the first video ever uploaded to Google’s (GOOGL) popular video sharing service, YouTube. As one of the most popular websites on the Internet, and the second leading search engine behind Google, YouTube clearly has a lot to celebrate. However, as a profitless Google subsidiary, YouTube’s future could prove quite volatile, especially as its main competitor continues to invest in an entirely new video-sharing platform.
In a push to dethrone YouTube, and simultaneously increase ad revenues, Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook (FB) has demonstrated an unrelenting drive to improve its video presence. By virtue of its 1.4 billion-member audience, any new Facebook website or app will become an automatic competitor to YouTube’s already firmly established, and culturally embedded, video platform. Facebook’s video service has already attracted 4 billion views per day; even more impressive, this figure continues to grow at a seemingly exponential rate. For example, Facebook video views stood at 1 billion per day during September 2014, and had increased to 3 billion by January 2015.
Unlike Google, and its flailing Google Plus social media platform, Facebook’s video service is more promising because of the company’s vast presence. Given its 1.4 billion users, Facebook can easily “push” videos to user newsfeeds. Furthermore, given its members’ quick ability to “like” and “share” videos, Facebook ensures organic growth and increased viewership for most uploaded media.
Additionally, Facebook’s popular “fan pages” provide direct links to media, specifically related videos. For instance, if you’re a San Francisco Giants fan, and you’ve “liked” their page, videos about the Giants will appear in your newsfeed. This Facebook offering circumvents Google’s alternative, where, if you wanted to see the same video on YouTube, you would have to subscribe to the Giants’ channel, search for the video, sit through an advertisement, and wait to enjoy your media.
Facebook’s video system also guarantees viewership by automatically playing videos as users scroll through their newsfeed, whereas YouTube requires users directly click on video links before playing the requested video. As such, especially if the video is related to a member’s “likes,” users will often watch entire videos on Facebook.
Facebook also recently announced a new program called Anthology, which will allow publishers and digital video producers to create advertising videos. Some of the more well known video producers that plan to participate in this program include Vice, Vox Media, and Funny or Die. This new platform could prove quite useful, given the invasiveness of Facebook’s text and image advertisements. By implementing video advertising, especially on mobile devices, Facebook members may be more willing to visit, and stay on, the social media site for longer time periods. If this business strategy comes to fruition, Google’s darling video platform could be in for a world of hurt.