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Facebook pushes further into 360-degree video with new partnership

Facebook partners with Blend Media / Facebook

Facebook's push to make 360-degree video ubiquitous has been bolstered through a new partnership with Blend Media, which will focus on developing a "creator community" of experts.

Blend Media is a tech platform that works with brands, agencies and publishers create 360-degree video projects.

Through the partnership, Facebook has gained access to Blend Media's library of premium content which it will harness to drive 360-degree video growth on the platform. Meanwhile, Blend Media will have direct access to Facebook's 360 team which it said will enable its own creators to “push boundaries”.

“Consumers both expect and deserve high quality engaging content, and no medium is more engaging than 360-degree video and VR. As a relatively new format, there’s a need to help nurture and support the creator community in the 360-degree video space,” said Damian Collier, founder and chief executive officer at Blend Media.

He said the focus has been put on this expert "creator community" because user-generated 360-degree video content doesn’t really exist yet, as the expensive equipment that requires a specific skill-set is mostly used by professionals.

“Anyone can now broadcast live or make and upload a regular video from their mobile phone, but to create the fantastic, immersive video content that users are now coming to expect requires the right equipment and a high level of skill," he continued, though expects consumer adoption to rise as the technology becomes more ubiquitous.

Conventional video is still deemed more engaging than 360 on Facebook in 2016, 55% of buyers and sellers in the UK believe immersive formats such as 360-video will provide one of the best revenue streams over the next 12 months, according to AOL’s recent report.

Aware of the opportunity the medium presents for brands, Facebook has been upping its game for some time. After first launching Facebook 360 in September 2015, the platform has so far partnered with a long list of brands and nonprofits to distribute immersive content. The social media giant has continued to break into the medium with the launch of 360 Live in December, fuelling its efforts to rival YouTube as a creator-centric and premium short-form video platform.

“Facebook’s commitment to driving innovation in video could not be more apparent. They also understand more than anyone that users are increasingly engaging with 360-degree and VR content, in many cases watching 360-degree video for considerably longer than fixed video,” Collier added.

Blend Media added that it's developing a platform will also enable brands to create their own 360-degree video campaigns from their content library and upload "seamlessly" to Facebook.

Collier expects the platform to launch in September.

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Robyn Darbyshire

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