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Facebook Showcases the Best 360 Video Content of 2015 – the Future of Online Video

December 24, 2015 Andrew Hutchinson

Facebook Showcases the Best 360 Video Content of 2015 – the Future of Online Video | Social Media TodayHere’s something fun for Christmas (or for those times at your family Christmas gathering where you need a moment to yourself, and looking down at your mobile screen might just get old Uncle Geoff to stop talking at you, just for a second).

As we all know, video has been huge on Facebook in 2015. The evolution of mobile networks and smartphone technology has changed the way people are consuming online media – now, people can watch video content at anytime, anywhere, and a great many are opting to do just that, as opposed to reading a post.

The introduction of autoplay video on Facebook has revolutionized the spread of video among its 1.55 billion users – for context, in September last year, Facebook announced that it was serving one billion video views across the platform, every day, an impressive figure in itself. They’re now serving more than eight billion. That’s amazing growth – and while some have questioned Facebook’s methodology for counting video views (Facebook counts a view after three seconds, as opposed to YouTube, which counts a view after 30 seconds), there’s no doubt, by any measure, that video has become one of the best ways to connect with online audiences.

So what’s next for video? The first thing that comes to mind is virtual reality, with many analysts and experts touting the next evolution of VR content, and both Facebook and Google working to lead the charge on this front – Facebook, through Oculus, will release their first consumer VR headset early in 2016, while Google has already been working to distribute Google Cardboard headsets to the public to help facilitate the take-up of the next iteration of video technology. Truly, the possibilities of VR are huge, and some tech industry insiders are already sharing stories of their experiences with the option, Robert Scoble talked recently about seeing the ideas for VR movies major studios are working on, while Darshan Shankur, who’s now working on a VR start-up, tweeted this earlier in the week:

Such possibilities sound pretty amazing, but we’re not there yet. Were not quite at the stage of a full-blown, virtual reality takeover for consumers just at this stage. But we’re close.

There are still a few barriers before we get to that next level – it always takes some time for consumer take-up to be high enough for significant market penetration of new technology, and cost and availability are, obviously, the first barriers to overcome. Another bridge we’re yet to cross is creator take-up of VR – as the tech rolls out, it'll take some time for creators to move in-line with the trend and make enough content for people to want to pay for VR headsets. Because of this, I'm predicting VR won’t become a major factor till 2017 – but before that, we have another video innovation that'll lead into that next phase. That element is 360 degree video.

360 video content, which is now available on both YouTube and Facebook, allows the viewer to look all around them by tilting and shifting their mobile device. When done well, it’s an amazing experience – 360 content offers a wider range of viewing options, with various perspectives and elements that compel multiple views. And given that we know VR is coming, and that 360 videos provide a new, interactive element to the video viewing experience, everyone will want to get on board with 360 video content in 2016. Expect to see a heap of amazing, interesting and fresh perspectives on 360 content over the next year – if you’re looking for the next big thing in video content, 360 video is it.

So how does your brand move in line with this trend? How do you create compelling 360 content? What's the best way to use it? To celebrate the evolution of 360 video on Facebook, the platform has today released a blog post which shares some of the top 360 videos uploaded to the platform thus far. The videos, chosen based on a combination of interaction factors (Likes, comments, views), showcase the possibilities of 360 content and the depth of what’s possible with this immersive new option.

And while it’s not quite VR yet, these videos do give you some idea of what VR will be able to do, how it will take this innovation to the next level.

Here are Facebook’s best examples:

Inside North KoreaABC News

California Valley Fire AftermathBuzzFeed

Tahiti SurfGoPro

Timelapse of Facebook’s CampusMark Zuckerberg

New Orleans Saints Pre-Season EntranceNew Orleans Saints

Real Madrid TrainingReal Madrid

Becoming the NewsRYOT

Speeding Across JakkuStar Wars

Flying with the Blue AngelsUSA TODAY

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