Facebook founder and chief Mark Zuckerberg has outlined the company's ambitions to become a destination for premium shot-form, YouTube style video.
Speaking during Facebook's quarter four earnings call yesterday (1 February) the tech boss described video as "a mega trend on the same order as mobile," and said Facebook would be looking for new ways to grow its video ecosystem over the coming years.
As it doubles down on video the social network will roll out its dedicated video tab globally. The button currently sits at the bottom of the Facebook app for all US users, and when clicked opens a video discovery hub where they can view live streams from around the world and content from their friends. Facebook will also both pay creators up front and through ad revenue schemes to get their content into its news feed and on the tab.
Earlier this week it was claimed that Facebook is looking to develop a custom app for TV set-top boxes. Zuckerberg didn't address the reports directly but hinted at a slow move toward longer form, with a focus first of all on snackable videos.
"We're focusing more on shorter form content to start. So the thesis that we have now is that there are different parts of short-term content. There is the type of content that people produce socially for friends," he told investors.
The rumour mill has been in full spin over claims Facebook is pushing publishers to create long-form premuim content as part of a wider initiative led by Facebook's head of global creative strategy and former CollegeHumour founder Ricky Van Veen.
While Zuckerberg told investors that he believes people will "experiment with longer form of video as well and all kinds of different things," in the future for now the primary focus was on short, sharable videos.
The social behemoth's chief financial officer David Wehner said that to "kick start," the video push Facebook would be looking for a wide range of content for which it will pay creators up front. However, he added that Facebook's model "is really oriented towards revenue share with creators," so it won't be all about big deals with publishers, celebrities and other businesses.
Facebook confirmed last year it was trialing mid-roll ads on its Live platform and it was claimed to be testing them across the board. However, when probed on the opportunities and challenges facing the company in terms of supporting its fresh video approach, Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg said: "In terms of monetizing, some of our newer attempts at products and news feeds such as ad breaks, those are really in early experimental stages and for now we’re really focused primarily on our core business – our core ads product – of which video is one."
Facebook's Q4 update beat analysts' estimates, with ad revenue growing by 53% to $8.81bn. The social network now boasts 1.86bn monthly active users worldwide.