Facebook is actively looking at the possibility of broadcasting live sports content via its Facebook Live service. Rob Shaw, Global Head for Strategic Partner Development – Sports Media, at Facebook has revealed social media platform’s plans at the ongoing Sportel Monaco.
Speaking at a Sportel Tech Panel session on Social Video, Shaw told delegates that the recent introduction of the Facebook Live service had altered the dynamics of its relationships with sporting rights holders.
“Our relationships and conversations have certainly changed over the last couple or six months, ever since the launch of Facebook Watchtab,” he said.
The watchtab allows Facebook users to discover videos from outside of their feed more easily. “Earlier you did not know what you were going to run into before you ran into it. But Facebook Watch is different as it connects you to your passions.”
“Facebook is a phenomenal place to reach large audiences and we are now looking into and testing the possibility of actually broadcasting live sports content. It’s going to be a huge learning curve for us, for broadcasters, media companies, the leagues, because it’s not telephones, it’s different. It’s interactive, it’s social, it’s not a one-way conversation,” he added.
“So these are the things that we’re trying to work together with the leagues and gain their feedback on data and consumption so that we can understand what we can build in the future,” Shaw stated during the session.
Shaw further observed that social video is still an emerging phenomenon. “Right now it is an area of experimentation and we are trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t work,” he said while also expressing his fears about piracy of video content.
“Luckily the audience is very forgiving, but there are a couple of dangerous areas. One is piracy. And, the second is how to ensure that people feel comfortable and have a good experience, which means you have good moderation tools.”
Facebook had bid INR 3,900 crore for the Indian Premier League digital rights. This was the highest bid for the digital rights, even though it couldn’t materialise as STAR Sports swept all the IPL rights with the best consolidated bid.