More Than 500 Million People Watch Facebook Videos Each Day

Facebook 360 Degree full-screen - H 2015
Courtesy of Facebook

CEO Mark Zuckerberg says 100 million hours of video are watched daily on the social network.

Facebook is continuing to build a strong video business.

More than 100 million hours of video are watched daily on the social network and 500 million people watch video each day, Facebook executives revealed Wednesday during the company's fourth-quarter earnings call with investors. 

Those numbers provide more clarity about Facebook's aggressive video growth over the last year. The company revealed in October that it had reached 8 billion daily video views in October, up from the 4 billion it reported in April. But critics argued that those numbers were inflated by the fact that Facebook counts views after just 3 seconds. 

"Video is an important part of the Facebook experience," CEO Mark Zuckerberg said during the earnings call, noting that the social network will continue to invest in the space and is testing new features including a dedicated area for video. 

Late in the call, COO Sheryl Sandberg expanded on the company's video strategy, noting that users are generating high-quality, short-form content that "people are happy to consume." She says that, for now, that will continue, but Facebook is having conversations with "makers of premium content" who already use Facebook as a distribution platform about how they can do more. 

Video will continue to be important to Facebook, especially as Oculus, the virtual-reality company it acquired in 2014, prepares to ship its first consumer VR headsets. Facebook announced support for 360-degree videos in the News Feed last September with an eye toward introducing its nearly 1.6 billion users to the medium. 

Although Facebook didn't break out financials for Oculus, Zuckerberg said he was happy with early pre-orders. He noted that Facebook expects Oculus to find its early audience with the gaming community but that, eventually, the platform will "ultimately change the way that we communicate and live." 

Facebook's growing video business has faced scrutiny over the last year as content creators, including many from the YouTube community, have expressed frustrations over the piracy, or "freebooting," of their videos. The company has taken efforts to curtail the problem, introducing video-matching technology that will ease the process of taking down videos that weren't posted legally.