Facebook is expanding its live broadcasting feature so publishers can stream virtual-reality-like 360-degree videos directly to Facebook’s News Feed.
Live video has been Facebook’s biggest product and marketing push of the year. It is paying brands and celebrities — including Vox Media, which owns Recode — to create live videos, and it’s given live videos higher priority in News Feed. Facebook even launched a massive marketing campaign to promote the entire effort, which isn’t a common strategy for the social giant.
So the expansion into 360-degree videos, then, is not all that surprising. Facebook has also pushed the VR-like videos in the hope of getting people excited about virtual reality — Facebook owns Oculus, one of the VR industry’s key headset and content makers.
But while other companies have started to experiment with live broadcasting in VR, especially around sports, you won’t be able to watch Facebook’s new 360-degree live videos on a VR headset right now, according to a company spokesperson. They’ll only be live in News Feed.
The new broadcasting option, called Live 360, is rolling out Tuesday with a video from National Geographic. It’ll be available to other publisher pages and accounts later next year.