BY SAHIL PATEL
Facebook is testing a new video section for its official “pages” feature that looks an awful lot like YouTube channels.
First spotted by TechCrunch on the Facebook page for ABC News, the layout for the new video section prioritizes one video, which receives prominent placement at the top of the page. Its accompanied by the comment feed to its right, making it easier for users to watch and interact with others about that video.
Below the featured video, the pages would feature a series of playlists that offer access to other videos organized around specific topics—again, not unlike what YouTube channels currently look like.
This is a significant change from what the video tabs on Facebook pages used to look like:
This is Facebook’s latest salvo in its ongoing attempt to compete with YouTube for video eyeballs and ad dollars. In addition to courting YouTube stars to upload content to its social network, and signing major media companies to do the same, Facebook has been adding features to its video product that mirror what people have grown accustomed to on the web. For instance, until a few months ago, Facebook did not provide any statistics on how many people watched a particular video—now it does.
With this latest update, Facebook is not only interested in pushing video clips out in front of users who are most likely to watch them in their news feeds, but it also wants to create hubs for video content that users can come back to on a regular basis. By doing so, the network has the ability to increase user time spent and engagement.
That said, don’t overlook how such an update to Facebook pages also impacts advertising on the social network. One can imagine all of the different ways Facebook can weave video ads on to these pages. That’s important for the company’s video business, which grows in audience size but largely remains un-monetized.
A Facebook spokesperson says the new video layout is currently being tested on a handful of pages, with a wider rollout planned in the coming weeks.
Illustration by Fernando Alfonso III