Last week brought two major developments in the over-the-top (OTT) ecosystem: YouTube announced a forthcoming OTT service that bundles YouTube content with network and cable TV channels, and Facebook launched a new app for Apple TV and Samsung Smart TVs.
As Pixability CEO Bettina Hein recently commented in AdExchanger, online video platforms are aggressively expanding their OTT strategies to continue attracting audience eyeballs and ad dollars. Consumers may be cutting cable, but the connected TV audience — comprised of viewers who stream video through set-top boxes, smart TVs, or gaming consoles — is growing rapidly, with 58% of the U.S. expected to view content through a connected TV in 2017.
YouTube is widely available across connected TV devices, making Facebook’s new release the first shot in the battle between social video platforms for control over the connected TV audience.
We took the Samsung Smart TV app for a test drive, and here’s what we found:
After a quick and easy setup, the app shows you a feed of videos shares by your friends (aw, did you know there are puppy videos on FB too, not just YouTube?).
Here’s a fun video shared about robots that can draw a portrait of you (#totallynotcreepy). Note that the video player user interface looks quite a lot like YouTube’s TV player, though it lacks the dislike button.
From the video, you can navigate to the publisher’s channel page and “follow” them, similar to subscribing to a YouTube channel (yet another example of feature convergence among walled gardens!).
Apart from liking, you can react to videos (through your remote control) just as you would on Facebook.
You can navigate to Facebook profiles, but the app displays only a user’s videos, not their other posts.
And finally, you can watch videos of video pages and channels that you follow. Channels with enough video content are pretty compelling — and the app shows description text, making a case for the importance of video SEO in the future.
There weren’t any ads in this new app, meaning monetization has probably not been enabled (yet).
Overall, this seems to be a V1.0 app, as there are several missing features, like search. However, the app is remarkably well-packaged, with a slick user experience that’s not at all far behind YouTube’s connected TV app. Plus, Facebook’s social graph makes this a unique experience, as the first videos you see are from your friends. Keep an eye out for continued development of Facebook’s OTT offering, especially as it tries to keep pace with YouTube in this critical segment of the media environment.
Contact us today if you’d like to learn more about how Pixability’s technology can help you or your clients achieve advertising success across social video platforms.