Facebook Adds New Features for Live, Watch Party, Creator Studio

AMSTERDAM—Facebook has announced at a variety of updates and new features for Live, Watch Party and Creator Studio at IBC 2019, which concludes Sept. 17 at the RAI Amsterdam.

In a blog describing the move, Erin Connolly, product manager, and Jeff Birkeland, head of Creator & Publisher Experience, wrote the enhancements are aimed at “creating video experiences that put people at the center” and intend to create ways “for publishers and creators to grow, understand their audiences and build deeper connections with their communities through video.”

Updates to Live include rehearsals, trimming, extended duration, simulcasting via the Live API and global availability of Live on Facebook Lite.

Live now enables publishers to send Live video solely to Page admins and editors to make it easier to test new production setups, interactivity and show formats in a rehearsal, the blog said.

The new live trimming feature does away with the need for a stand-by slate before action begins. The feature allows users to specify when action should begin or clip the last few seconds of a broadcast, it said.

The Live enhancements also allow publishers to extend the duration of their broadcasts to a maximum of eight hours—up from four—when the Live API is used.

Facebook has added scheduling, replay, new metrics, branded content and global availability of Live Commentating to Watch Party.

The new scheduling feature for Watch Party makes it possible to schedule a Watch Party in advance, thus building anticipation. When scheduling a Watch Party, an announcement post is created to allow people to opt-in to being notified when the party begins, the blog said.

Replays allow viewers to watch after the Watch Party has aired. Two new metrics in Creator Studio for Watch Parties—Minutes Viewed and Unique 60s Viewers, which measures how many viewers watched for at least 60 seconds—are available.

The update to Watch Parties also includes a way for Pages to tag business partners in branded content Watch Parties, it said.

Live Commentating makes it possible for a host to go Live within a Watch Party and share commentary as videos play,

Creator Studio now offers new visualization in Loyalty Insights, a new Distribution metric, 13 new languages for automatic captioning as well as the ability to publish and schedule content for Instagram Feed and IGTV.

The new visualization in Loyalty Insights, which will be available in the coming months, allows publishers and creators to understand which videos are driving return viewers to a Page, it said.

A new Distribution metric assigns a score to the performance of each video based on a Page’s historic average of a variety of metrics.

New auto-caption language support includes Arabic, Chinese, German, Hindi, Italian, Malay, Russian, Tagalog, Tamil, Thai, Turkish, Urdu and Vietnamese, according to the blog.

Another new feature enables users to schedule Instagram Feed content in Creator Studio up to six months in advance. Facebook also plans to incorporate drafting and editing features for Instagram Feed and IGTV, it said.

The blog post about updates is available online.

Phil Kurz is a contributing editor to TV Tech. He has written about TV and video technology for more than 30 years and served as editor of three leading industry magazines. He earned a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism.