Facebook TV: A New Era?

Throughout the last decade, Facebook has been aggressively changing users' expectations on its online platform, from stalking your classmates in the beginning, to being a platform for monetizing preferences, values and opinions. This year, Facebook is expected to make another disruptive change, which is allowing its over 1.86 billion monthly active users to enjoy a Facebook-Made Channel on their Facebook pages, including sports, games and TV series.

According to the Wall Street Journal on March 10th, Facebook has signed a deal with Major League Soccer and Univision to stream more than 20 regular-season soccer games in 2017. Meanwhile, Facebook is also planning to produce their own TV shows and TV series, and negotiating with movie studios on future cooperations. These deals aim at creating exclusive content solely for Facebook, as a way to drive eyeballs to the new format.

This new move is potentially disruptive to the way we think about TV programming, because Facebook would be able to curate content to audiences based on personal interests. By conso-lidating social media and streaming service, the process of “watching TV” on Facebook can potentially become more interactive and users are likely to be more engaged than in the current habit of TV viewing. Facebook users tend to subscribe and react to pages and other users with similar views, values and interest. Once Facebook can provide relevant video recommendations, the opportunity there is in creating personalized pages or channel for each user. Users will be watching and interacting with more content that is personally relevant to them, which also means the overall user experience will be that much better.

These channels will be also a new commercial tool and will become an additional income source for Facebook. In the future, they are likely to become a giant streaming provider like Netflix since they already have a huge number of active users. By creating their own library of original content, including big audience draws like sports, this can help Facebook chart a better path towards monetization on the platform both for itself and other partners who are already using the network to push their videos. Ultimately, this will lead to more video content, resulting in bigger, stickier audiences staying inside the Facebook community.

We can expect this Facebook Channel to be yet another milestone in social media history. Before, we treat social media platform like as a place for us to share everything in life. But this new streaming service may change user behaviors from sharing themselves to watching professional-produced contents which may not necessary lead to sharing. Will there be a day when all Facebook feeds are generated by professional media instead of sharing be normal users? Let's hope not.

(Photo Credits: John Adams @Crunchies)

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