How the BBC, Sky Sports and other UK media are using Facebook Live video

Facebook’s live video product is catching on in the U.S., with publishers like the Washington Post, Vox, USA Today and many others streaming on the platform.

It’s clear why media outlets are interested — Facebook favors live videos in the News Feed above regular videos, so in general they get more views. Also, Facebook announced this month that people spend three times more time watching live video compared to videos that are not live. “This is because Facebook Live videos are more interesting in the moment than after the fact,” offers Facebook.

In the U.K., news outlets are being a bit more reserved, but there’s experimentation from forward-thinking publishers covering sports, politics and live events. Here’s how four U.K. media houses are using Facebook Live video.

On Friday, the BBC filmed a 30-minute live stream of broadcaster Chris Morris at the EU Turkey Summit where EU leaders are meeting with the Turkish Prime Minister. Interspersed with interviews, Morris answers questions that are posted in the Facebook comments. The video has had 122,000 views and 1,400 comments. BBC News has an indomitable 28 million fans of its page.

We were live from the EU #migrantcrisis talks in Brussels. Watc our live discussion again  #EUCO

Posted by BBC News on Friday, 18 March 2016

But it was BBC Sport’s “Match of the Day” Facebook page that was be the first publisher page outside of the U.S. to have access to Facebook Live in November. Its first video, “Match of the Day” presenter Gary Lineker revealed the team line-up for the show airing later on that evening (the order in which the teams are mentioned is a point of contention). The Live video gained 1.3 million views.

“It’s important to have a clear understanding of what the focus of the Live video is,” Chris Hurst, digital development editor BBC Sport, told Digiday, “whether that’s delivering information, giving a behind-the-scenes insight to our shows, or encouraging interaction with the audience. The novelty of just doing a Live video will wear off relatively quickly, so the challenge will be to remain distinctive and evolve how we tell stories, while linking back to our business objective of driving audiences back to the BBC to consume more content.”

Around six live videos are streamed a week at BBC Sport and “Match of the Day,” accumulating around a million total views, according to Hurst.

When England became Six Nations rugby champions on March 6 after beating Wales, the Rugby Football Union (RFU) took the opportunity to film a 90-second chat with England coach Eddie Jones. Its Facebook page has 1.6 million likes, making it more impressive that the video gained half a million views, 31,000 reactions and 3,000 comments.

 England are RBS 6 Nations Champions!

Posted by England Rugby on Sunday, 13 March 2016

Sky Sports 
Sky Sports, with 8.5 million Facebook fans, uses Facebook Live largely for post-match analysis from presenters like former football player Jamie Redknapp. While these get 170,000 views for things like a 30-second clip of Redknapp lamenting a disappointing 0-0 final score between Norwich and Manchester City, that’s nothing compared to the near half a million views garnered from iPhone-quality footage of Manchester United and Arsenal players climbing off their bus at the stadium.

This low-fi quality is all part of the charm, said James Kirkham, head of football community Copa90, which has used Live video to stream a match between Brazil and the U.S. “The success of live streaming in football is the ability to ‘be there,’ to really feel it. That means authenticity and mistakes, not stilted stunted overly orchestrated pre-crafted content.”

 Manchester United vs Arsenal – The players arrive! #supersunday

Posted by Sky Sports on Sunday, 28 February 2016

BuzzFeed has been experimenting with Facebook Live video across a number of its pages for two weeks and has posted nine in total. It covers a mix of political commentary, covering the budget announcement or London’s housing crisis, with some more entertainment-led tongue-in-cheek content, like people trying Japanese snacks (its most popular with 80,000 views) or footage of new artists, such as in its series Music Breaks.

It’s Friday evening!!! It’s time for British people to try Japanese snacks and drink beer!!!

Posted by BuzzFeed UK on Friday, 4 March 2016

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