Facebook video goes 360; Publishers give tick of approval to instant articles

Sarah Homewood
By Sarah Homewood | 24 September 2015

Facebook today has hit the start button on 360 degree video, with the social network partnering with the likes of GoPro, Star Wars, and Saturday Night Live in order to bring the new wave of video to the News Feed.

While the fact it only went live today means that no brands locally are entering the fray yet, the social network said it rolled out the offering off the back of noticing that people enjoy more immersive connect on their News Feed.

In a blog post announcing the launch Facebook's engineering director for video, Maher Saba said: “To create 360 videos, a special set of cameras is used to record all 360 degrees of a scene simultaneously.

“This means that when the video is playing on Facebook, you can choose what angle you want to see it from. On the web you can do this by dragging around the video with your cursor, and on mobile devices you do it by dragging with your finger — or even just by turning your device. You’ll be able to hold up your phone and the 360 video will follow you as you turn, looking around, to experience things from all over the world like never before,” he said.

Other publishers also sharing the 360 videos in partnership with Facebook are Discovery, LeBron James and Uninterrupted, and youth-focused news organisation Vice.

Facebook rolling out 360 video points to the social network entering further into the virtual reality space, with the site not only owning VR technology Oculus Rift, but Facebook's Oculus division collaborated with the social giant on the 360 degree video project.

With publication The Verge noting that this moves offers some “tantalizing hints” about how Facebook plans to evolve its news feed into something more than two-dimensional.

The news comes as another publisher has come on board to Facebook's Instant Articles and it has dived in head first with The Washington Post joining the likes of The New York Times, National Geographic, BuzzFeed, NBC, The Atlantic, The Guardian, BBC News who are trialling the service however the Post has already committed to putting 100% of its content through the platform.

Fred Ryan, publisher for The Washington Post said: “We want to reach current and future readers on all platforms, and we aren’t holding anything back.”

“Launching Instant Articles on Facebook enables to give this extremely large audience a faster, more seamless news reading experience,” he added.

It is unclear how many articles that other publishers are pushing through Instant Articles and when more publishers, both international and local, are set to sign on.

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