Facebook explores dedicated video offering

Facebook is looking to launch a dedicated video offering as engagement with video content on the site continues to grow.

Speaking on the company’s fourth quarter a full year earnings call, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that 100 million hours of video are now watched each day on Facebook, while COO Cheryl Sandberg added that 500 million people watch video daily.

“We’ve been testing new experiences like suggested videos which enables people to discover more videos they might be interested in. We’re also exploring ways to give people a dedicated place on Facebook for when they just want to watch videos,” said Zuckerberg.

Chief finance officer Dave Wehner said on the call that video is helping Facebook in terms of time spent on the site and engagement. Sandberg said that video ads are important and give Facebook’s advertising business room to grow, given the volume of video being consumed.

“What we’re seeing is that users are generating a lot of really high-quality content, often pretty short-form, that people are really happy to consume. We believe that trend will continue because we’re at the very beginning with people really understanding the power of the smartphones,” said Sandberg.

Discussing Facebook’s interest in virtual reality technology, Zuckerberg said that it had reached an “important milestone”. The Samsung Gear VR headset, which runs Oculus software, began shipping over the holiday period and pre-orders for Oculus headsets opening this month.

Facebook’s involvement in VR dates back to 2014 when the company agreed to acquire Oculus Rift, a VR technology company that makes software as well as hardware like the Oculus Rift headset.

“Over the long-term, VR has the potential to change the way that we live, work and communicate,” said Zuckerberg. “The reason why we’re interested in this as the social company is that we think that this is going to be a new way that people interact.”

Overall Facebook reported revenue for full year 2015 of US$17.93 billion, an increase of 44% year-over-year. Net income for the full year was US$3.69 billion, compared to US$2.94 billion a year earlier.