Facebook is rolling out a broadcast scheduling function for Live videos, starting with verified Pages. The feature, which was announced in June, will be available to general users in the coming weeks.
Live video published via the Facebook Live API (which is only available to select Pages and developers) can now be scheduled up to one week in advance from the “publishing tools” section.
Once a scheduled post is created, an announcement for the upcoming live broadcast will appear on the publisher’s News Feed. People who see the post can opt in to receive a notification just before the live video airs. Viewers who tune in up to three minutes before the broadcast will be placed into a virtual lobby, where they can interact with other audience members. This allows the publisher to monitor the size of their viewership in the lead-up to the live broadcast. Facebook has detailed a step-by-step guide to the scheduling process in its blog post on the new feature.
“Scheduling a live video makes it easier to build anticipation and buzz with your audience before your broadcast begins, so you can start strong with an audience already assembled,” writes Facebook in the blog post.
Back in June, Facebook also announced the ability to broadcast with another person who’s in a different location. So instead of spouting off by yourself about an issue close to your heart, you’ll be able to bring in a friend to turn it into discussion. Or a slanging match, depending on how civil you choose to be. On another level, the option to pull in an additional user in a different location could introduce new possibilities for marketers, celebrities, and media outlets, with the potential to create far richer real-time experiences for viewers.
Additionally, in a swipe at Snapchat, the social network introduced the wacky face filters from the MSQRD app it acquired in March. MSQRD’s clever technology adds — in real time — a range of weird and wonderful masks to your mug.
Facebook is working hard to knock its live-stream feature into shape as it seeks to take on the likes of Twitter-owned Periscope, and also Google’s YouTube, which also boasts a live-streaming feature for popular creators.
Besides today’s update, Facebook’s strategy includes getting lots of media companies and celebrities on board, with a report earlier this week claiming it’s spent more than $50 million on a host of big names for new Facebook Live content.
If you didn’t already know it, mobile live-streaming is all the rage at the moment, with everyone from regular users to famous personalities to news outlets experimenting with the platform. Heck, even politicians are discovering interesting uses for it.