Competition continues to heat up among the social media giants as they expand their media operations to enhance experience for users and create opportunities for brands and content owners. Last year was a big year for video on Facebook, which ended 2014 with a whopping average of 3 billion videos viewed on its platform daily (including videos autoplayed). Earlier in January, Facebook reported that the number of videos uploaded per person increased 75% over the last year. Although the volume of videos is still lower than that of YouTube’s, video sharing on Facebook is significantly higher. Marketers understand the emotion-inducing impact of videos and see their audiences consume much more online video now than ever. With high video engagement levels on Facebook, some senior industry observers and pundits believe that Facebook now presents a potential real threat to YouTube.
Twitter is also looking to position itself as a video platform with the launch of its native video feature, which requires that all videos be hosted by Twitter. The feature is currently available to its brand and media partners but will be extended to consumers in the first half of 2015. Twitter already owns the popular video-sharing app Vine, but this native feature will enable users to capture and share moments more quickly on the Twitter platform, similar to the features on Facebook-owned Instagram.
This unprecedented, 24/7 access to consumers not only benefits brands but also content creators. Access Hollywood recently launched the new series Early Access on Facebook exclusively on the platform, marking the first time Facebook inked an exclusive distribution deal with a media company. AT&T has partnered with the mobile-first ephemeral messaging app Snapchat to distribute its scripted series SnapperHero on Snapchat’s platform, where episodes would be available for only 24 hours. Additionally, Snapchat recently introduced Discover, a feature which serves ephemeral news and trending content from media partners, including CNN, Cosmopolitan, Yahoo! and Vice. Through Discover, brands and creators get direct access to Snapchat’s highly engaged Millennial user base. As with the other social media platforms, Snapchat’s media endeavors don’t stop here. It is growing its own media team and already producing content for its own channel on Discover. There is more to come as these platforms expand from social networks into destinations for content consumption.