Following recent news that Facebook have begun testing ads on live video (http://bit.ly/2ax2aRF) it comes as no surprise that they are so determined to see it succeed. In their last quarterly report, total advertising revenue surged 63% to a whopping $6.24 billion (http://bit.ly/2a0yMXQ). With figures like that who can blame them for further focusing on such a lucrative part of their business?
However, who's going to be funding such exercises? Marketing and PR.
We've already seen multiple examples of live streaming going wrong, or exposing far too much into the public domain. A woman recently live streamed the sexual harassment she experienced in her workplace on a daily basis, an inmate in a New York prison wielded a knife live, whilst incarcerated, and an ISIS terrorist live streamed the chilling murders of a Parisian policeman and wife.
Ultimately, live video cannot be controlled and that spells disaster for PRs. Aligning your brand with content that has the potential to be horrific, offensive or shocking could be completely damaging.
If its survival rests solely on advertising revenue it seems unlikely that it will continue to surge in the way it has so far. Besides, how many times can an exploding watermelon really captivate 800,000 people around the world?
Though Facebook is clearly hell-bent on making sure Facebook Live will get a running start, I predict it will end up in the graveyard of previous obsessions including Facebook Credits, Paper and Deals. This isn’t a reflection of Facebook’s lack of might but of the inherent limitations of live video.