Facebook Nudges Into Audio Space. Should You Be Worried?


Much of the Tech Press is reporting this launch as a way for Facebook to get into radio. As if you needed more competition for ad dollars. It’s called “Live Audio,” and Facebook unveiled the new product Tuesday because the social media behemoth says “sometimes publishers want to tell a story on Facebook with words and not video.”

Consumers love technology that’s easy to use and for those of you that have used Facebook’s Live Video technology you know it is easy to use. Facebook says, just as with a live video on Facebook, listeners can discover live audio content in their news feed, ask questions, and leave reactions in real time during the broadcast, and easily share with their friends. Live Audio will be tested over the next several weeks with BBC World Service (news radio) , LBC, Harper Collins, and authors Adam Grant and Brit Bennett. In 2017, the new format will be more broadly available.

TechCrunch reports broadcasts have a four hour limit so they should accommodate a wide range of content, such as: Radio stations could broadcast their programs, Podcasters could find new online distribution for their episodes, news anchors could broadcast audio from disaster zones or areas of crisis where bandwidth may be too overloaded for video streaming and musicians could broadcast concerts or studio sessions. But of course, that would simply drive more of your traffic to Facebook and away from your digital offerings.

At some point will Facebook, much like Pandora, come after your ad dollars. Geektime’s Laura Rosbrow-Telem writing about the launch said the main reason Facebook probably launched this service was to create another advertising channel. “If digital audio advertisers are buying ads in Facebook Live Audio broadcasts, this can only hurt radio’s bottom line.”

And she has a warning for radio. “The reason many people increasingly value audio broadcasting is that radio goes for depth. If broadcasters feel growing pressure to create shorter audio stories to increase shareability on Facebook, I worry that this will have disastrous consequences for the beauty of this medium. Radio is experiencing a renaissance. Don’t let Facebook burst your glorious bubble.”

Are you worried?

(Picture courtesy Facebook Live Audio)



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