Is Facebook’s Premieres looking to take on Twitch?



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In the latest stage in Facebook’s march towards becoming one of the greatest forces of media on the internet, Premiers is gearing up for release, combining aspects of both traditional online videos like YouTube and live services such as Twitch. Still, questions remain as to exactly what Facebook is trying to accomplish. More importantly, how is the feature expected to fare in an already often overpopulated market?

The Idea

The concept of Facebook Premieres is based on the idea of showing pre-recorded videos at specific times, effectively premiering them as would be the case for something like traditional media – a film or a television series premiere broadcast at a set time.

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As the modern age has continuously shown progress away from this model and towards the on-demand systems of Netflix and Hulu, the purpose of Premieres remains somewhat uncertain.

Netflix Logo (CC BY-SA 2.0) by theglobalpanorama

As a cornerstone, this concept is based on the increasing popularity of video content as a whole. YouTube is bigger than ever, television is bigger than ever, film is bigger than ever, and even Facebook’s own video services have been performing especially well.

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Combine this with a whole range of popular live-video services, and the bridging of the two gaps seems like an inevitability. Twitch is perhaps the greatest example of this, moving from niche to mainstream force over a remarkably short period of time, though similarities can also be seen in some of what modern online casinos offer.

Take Casinocruise’s downloadable software as an example. The client has live casino games now available on-demand, effectively bridging the gap between live video and at-home engagement – and in this, Facebook Premieres seems happy to imitate.

Playing Against the Established

If measuring as a direct competitor to Twitch, Premieres is facing an uphill battle. Twitch didn’t originally have financial backing anything close to what Facebook enjoys today; instead, its popularity was hard-won. Twitch is a system which heavily focusses on direct user engagement, which while a key component of what Premieres seem eager to mirror, the final idea is one slightly different.

Twitch-Stand auf der Gamescom 2017 (CC BY 2.0) by wuestenigel

The real goal, as best as speculators can place it, is that Facebook wants to build on the sense of community and anticipation which was formerly so popular with strictly timed media releases.

It is difficult to manage the way in which people consume media, with current trends painting binge-watching as increasingly standard. While this can be great for the consumer, at least in terms of convenience, it can stand in opposition to what many media outlets want to accomplish.

Long-term engagement is often the key here, which can be difficult to maintain when viewers watch an entire series in just one or two sessions.

Standing the Test of Time

By keeping these strict timetables and drip-feeding content in a now uncommon way, the end goal becomes much clearer. Not only is the system of Premieres building on the primary social focus of Facebook’s social media, but it also helps build long-term excitement and engagement. Whether this will stand the market test remains to be seen, but there is no denying that the idea itself remains solid.

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