Facebook to Launch App for Apple, Amazon Fire TV

Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Dan Rose

The app is part of Facebook's push to feature more video.

Facebook videos will soon be available on a slightly bigger screen.

The social network is planning to launch an app for connected-TV devices including Apple TV and Amazon's Fire TV, Dan Rose, vp partnerships, announced Tuesday at the Code Media conference. 

The app, which The Wall Street Journal first reported on in January, will allow people to watch videos first posted to Facebook on a bigger screen than just their mobile phones or desktop computers. The move follows the launch of a Twitter app for set-top boxes last year, designed for watching live streams of big events like Thursday Night Football and the presidential debates. 

Despite the creation of this new app, Rose said that mobile is still a priority for Facebook, which has 1.74 billion mobile monthly active users. "If you want to watch [a video] on your TV, you can, but it's going to be designed for the small screen," he said. 

The launch of a TV app comes as video has become increasingly important to Facebook's long-term strategy. The company recently introduced a video tab on its mobile app and will soon begin buying original shows to fill that tab with highly produced video. 

Still only a few months old, the video tab is "just getting started," Rose noted, adding that "there are not a log of people going there" yet.

CollegeHumor co-founder Rick Van Veen and his team is overseeing Facebook's effort to buy up original content. Rose noted that the company is in search of programming that is "really unique, that really plays into our strength and has this community aspect." 

While Facebook will be looking for longer videos than are currently found on the app, Rose said the social network will still start small. Whereas 30-second and one-minute videos are common today, "we'd be very happy if we got to 5 or 10 minutes," he says. "That also makes sense in the context of it being a primarily mobile experience."

Van Veen's effort to fund content follows Facebook's move to seed the production of live video by paying some of its partners. Many of those one-year deals are coming to a close and Rose said that the goal, after funding early production, is to begin moving publishers to a revenue share model built around a mid-roll ad product that is currently being tested. He added that some live deals will be extended to help with that transition. 

Rose on Tuesday also announced that Facebook will begin to support vertical videos without cropping them for a horizontal player. The social network will also start to play videos with or without sound, depending on whether the viewers have the volume on their phones turned on. In addition, Facebook will let people watch video in a smaller box as they continue to scroll through their news feeds. 

As Facebook has continued to invest in video production, the company has begun to look more and more like a media company. But Rose, when asked whether the social network is more media company than tech company, responded, "We're a platform where people discover a lot of media content."

comments powered by Disqus