Facebook India's video push, helped by partnerships, to get stronger

Topics Facebook | Instagram

(Photo: Reuters)
Helped by its collaborations in sports, entertainment, news and music, video is one of Facebook's fastest growing components in India, across Facebook and Instagram in the last year, and continues to get bigger, according to a senior executive at the social media firm.

One of the biggest areas driving growth through 2020 and the current year, video is also becoming one of the biggest medium for consuming content across Facebook platforms, said Manish Chopra, Facebook’s director and head of partnerships in India

"Just Instagram saw 60 per cent rise in video views, and today, one third of the posts that are there on Instagram have video in them. The other video growth that we've seen is live video, which in 2020 was initially a way for people to communicate from their living rooms, then it went into a sustainable way for audiences to be reached in multiple ways," Chopra said. 

Facebook Live viewership jumped 50 per cent as entertainment and culture moved online once the lockdown restrictions were put in place.

Chopra added that short form video, helped by the launch of Instagram Reels last year, and Facebook helping people discover relevant video content also added to the trend. 

Facebook Watch, a video product launched by the company in 2017, is another way people are discovering video content on the platform. According to Facebook, more than 1.25 billion people visit Watch every month, and India is one of the largest markets for Watch globally.

Instagram Reels, widely seen as a competitor to the now banned TikTok in India has also helped the overall video strategy for Facebook. The 15-second multi-clip videos with audio, effects and creative tools is a favourite of many creators on Instagram. 

Chopra, however, does not see Reels as a competition to TikTok, which counted India as its largest market outside of China. 

"Even before, we had the short form video creation tools that we have put into Reels, (with Instagram) Stories. A lot of video content was also already going in Stories in that short format. I think what Reels did for us was giving the entire set of tools that are needed for creators to express themselves, as well as the surface that is needed for them to be discovered," said Chopra.

Over the past few years, Facebook has struck partnerships that have helped it take its video offering more compelling. 

The lockdown related to the Covid-19 situation also helped spur the interest in video for Facebook. 

Beginning with do-it-yourself (DIY) type of videos, food and music, and regional content on its platforms, Facebook also saw a greater interest in its fundraiser products.

Facebook's video push:

- Partnerships in sports, entertainment, music and news helped drive more video content
- 60% increase in Instagram views in 2020
- 1/3rd of posts on Instagram have video content
- Facebook Watch helping people discover interesting content
- Global Watch viewers- over 1.25 billion per month, India key market
- Pandemic spurred interest in Live videos - Live viewership jumped 50% post lockdown
- Madhuri Dixit turns singer, debuted and launched her single ‘Candle’ exclusively on Facebook via Facebook Live
- Fundraiser products, launched during lockdown 

Key partnerships:

- International Cricket Council's clip rights for India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka until 2023
- Sony Pictures Network for the Australia tour 
- Deal with Filmfare Awards to stream awards globally along with TV broadcast
- Partnership with International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Awards, Viacom18, Zee, Sony, Shemaroo, ETV, PTC regularly post clips of popular TV shows and movies on Facebook.
- Music video partnerships with T -Series Music, Zee Music Company, and Yash Raj Films 

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