Facebook buys interactive video firm in bid to make its live broadcasts more social

  • Facebook is acquiring the technology and team behind video startup Vidpresso
  • As part of the deal, Facebook will gain access to Vidpresso’s social video tech, which lets users put on-screen polls during live video, among other things
  • It should help Facebook as it works to expand live and recorded video on the site
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Facebook has bought a small video company with the hopes of spicing up its live broadcasts. 

The social media giant has acquired Vidpresso, which builds social features for real-time video.

It comes as Facebook has been working to improve and expand the video content on its site.   

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Facebook has bought a small video company with the hopes of spicing up its live broadcasts. It has acquired Vidpresso, which builds social meadia features for real-time video

As part of the deal, Facebook will gain access to Vidpresso’s social video technology and will absorb the startup’s seven-person team. 

Vidpresso lets users add interactive elements to their live video broadcasts, such as on-screen polls, viewer comments, reactions and other tools. 

Terms of the deal weren’t revealed publicly. 

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‘We’re really excited to share we’re joining Facebook effective today,’ Vidpresso founder Randall Bennett wrote in a blog post Monday.

‘We will continue to help creators, publishers, and broadcasters create great live experiences, and focus on what we’re best known for: Enabling world-class interactive streams on Facebook Live.’

Vidpresso works to make ‘video more like HTML,’ giving creators, publishers and broadcasters more control over how their live broadcasts appear. 


Vidpresso works to make ‘video more like HTML,’ giving publishers and broadcasters more control over how their live broadcasts appear. Users can add polls and other features to videos

‘By joining Facebook we’ll be able to offer our tools to a much broader audience than just our A-list publishing partners,’ Bennett continued. 

‘Eventually, it’ll allow us to put these tools in the hands of creators, so they can focus on their content, and have it look great, without spending lots of time or money to do so.’

Vidpresso’s employees are expected to work out of Facebook’s offices in Menlo Park, Los Angeles and London, but it will still be able to give clients access to their services, according to TechCrunch. 

The startup also works with BuzzFeed, Univision, Turner Sports, Nasdaq, NBC and others.   

For Facebook, it should help the company further strengthen its video offerings, such as Watch, where it hosts original content and user-generated content, as well as Watch Party, which lets users watch videos with their friends in real-time. 


For Facebook, it should help the company further strengthen its video offerings, such as Watch, where it hosts original content and user-generated content, as well as Watch Party, which lets users watch videos with their friends in real-time

WHAT IS FACEBOOK’S WATCH PARTY?

Facebook is testing a new feature called ‘Watch Party’ that allows group admins to pick a public video on Facebook and share it with their members.

Watch Party could make watching videos more intimate as comments will not get lost in the same way they do with a public video.

There will be a box in Groups where users can tune in and see what is set to be broadcast as part of a ‘shared viewing experience’.

When a ‘party’ is taking place, members will see a widget on the group page. 

While watching the video, comments will roll over like they do during Facebook Live clips. 

Users can also put up emoji Reactions if they want to participate without typing. 

According to Facebook, the goal is to make watching videos a social experience rather than a passive one.

It means that Facebook will likely compete more directly with the likes of YouTube and Twitch, which offer some interactive features in their live video tools.

Additionally, its recently launched Premieres tool, could be aided further by Vidpresso’s technology.

Premieres lets users publish pre-recorded videos as a live stream with a real-time chat room attached, encouraging the same kind of atmosphere as a TV show premiere.    

The move comes as Facebook has been beefing up other live video offerings in its suite of apps. 

Last week, Facebook rolled out interactive augmented reality games for group chats in Messenger. 

It adds a bit of flair to group chats by letting users challenge their friends to compete in fun games, such as ‘Don’t Smile’ and ‘Asteroids Attack.’ 

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