News

Facebook Acquires Vidpresso

Background:

This week, Facebook announced the purchase of Vidpresso, an interactive social video tool. However, it is not buying the company itself, but the seven-person team and the technology.  No financial details of the deal were released.

The six-year-old Utah startup works with TV broadcasters and content publishers to make their online videos more interactive with on-screen social media polling and comments, graphics and live broadcasting integrated with Facebook, YouTube, Periscope and more.

Details and Implications:  

Facebook‘s decision to purchase Vidpresso’s technology is to further its interactive video content approach. Facebook is looking to do this by giving independent, semi-pro creators access to the same tools that traditional media outlets use, so sharper content can be distributed. This interactive content will come in the form of display polls, comments, and other features commonly seen on Periscope, Twitch and other networks.

Vidpresso’s seven-person team will be moving into the Facebook offices, but will still service their existing clients, including Buzzfeed and NBC. Service is expected to stay free for the client-base for now, while Facebook is at least, temporarily becoming the provider of enterprise video services. A post on Vidpresso’s page said “We will continue to help creators, publishers and broadcasters create great live experiences and focus on what we’re best known for: Enabling world-class interactive streams on Facebook Live. Our customers who currently use the product will continue to be able to do so following our transition to Facebook.”

What is currently unclear is if Facebook will eventually remove the current client-base access to the technology, or if it will stop integrating with platforms like Twitch and YouTube. According to Vidpresso, the new offering will go beyond A-List publisher Live streaming, which will "allow us to put these tools in the hands of creators, so they can focus on their content, and have it look great, without spending lots of time or money to do so". The move shows Facebook’s ongoing push for video in order to make it a bigger part of its business as well as being able to compete with rivals in the marketplace.

Facebook Live has seen upwards of 3.5 billion broadcasts globally to date, and has six times as many interactions, when compared to the more traditional videos on the platform. Outside of live streams from public figures, there have been very few users who have content considered compelling. As interactivity becomes more common, it can definitely help reduce pressure on broadcasters by letting users participate in conversation. 

Summary:

The purchase of the Vidpresso team and technology shows Facebook’s intention to further move into interactive video, and it is clear it doesn‘t want to do this through TV and news publishers exclusively. The ambition and goal is to drive amateur video efforts and make it easier for users and creators to deliver more polished interactive videos that will feel more natural and keep the fan bases engaged. Ultimately, the Vidpresso tech could help Facebook further drive its push for interactive live video without having to start from scratch – ultimately moving towards its goal of being the go to destination to view creator content.

Further Reading:

Techcrunch / Engadget / Adweek