Facebook Live is looking rather unwell

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

Facebook Live is beginning to look undead:

The number of Facebook Live videos produced by paid partners more than halved by the end of 2017—and in one case fell by as much as 94 percent—as once guaranteed payments ended and Facebook deprioritized the product, new Tow Center research suggests.

This graph gives you the picture:

Publisher Facebook Liove decline

This really isn’t a surprise. Live video is an incredibly attention-demanding form of media, and in an attention poor, content rich age, only the very strongest and most compelling videos are going to get any traction at all. That means Facebook Live will only ever be a very niche, very targeted tool for certain stories, where there is a compelling news reason to show events live.

We’ve known this for decades. I discussed this with Nick Newman last year, and he pointed out that TV has had an awfully long time to experiment with live broadcast — and evidence has shown again and again that it only suits a very small number of subjects.

Without Facebook’s payments, I doubt we’d have seen a fraction of the peak levels of use.

Facebooklive videolivestreaming

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Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.