Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) is dead set on its ongoing expansion into video. The company officially launched its Watch platform last August, and much of the initial focus is on seeding professionally produced content with high production value, although Facebook would inevitably transition to user-generated video content (which Facebook just inked music licensing deals for).
The social network is going to need more video-oriented talent for the big push.
Two new video hires
Facebook has now hired two video execs to help spearhead its video strategy. Matthew Henick is leaving BuzzFeed, where he previously served as the head of BuzzFeed Studio. In a Facebook post announcing his move, Henick says he will "lead global video content strategy and planning" at the social networking giant. Henick says he has "always thought of Facebook as a storytelling platform at its core" and that the "future of storytelling is social."
Mike Bidgoli is leaving Pinterest to join Facebook as head of product for Watch, Bidgoli announced in a Medium post. Bidgoli notes, "Facebook Watch has a vision to not just entertain, but to also connect people, spark conversations, and foster community." The distinction between entertainment and social interactions largely echoes CEO Mark Zuckerberg's recent comments about "meaningful social interactions."
Shifting away from passive consumption
In Facebook's fourth-quarter earnings release, His Zuckness argued that passive video consumption is detrimental to well-being, and the solution is to encourage "meaningful social interactions." Facebook had tweaked its algorithms in the fourth quarter to give viral videos lower priority, resulting in 50 million fewer hours being spent on Facebook every day. Here's Zuckerberg on the call:
Now Facebook's task will be not only to help create video content that is engaging, but also hope that it's engaging enough for users to actively interact with that content and with each other. That's much easier said than done.
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Evan Niu, CFA owns shares of Facebook. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Facebook. The Motley Fool has the following options: short March 2018 $200 calls on Facebook and long March 2018 $170 puts on Facebook. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.