By Julia Bain and Beth Loyd, News Partnerships

People on Facebook are engaging with Facebook Live in new ways. Live video is immediate and social, and we’ve seen that people comment 10 times more on Facebook Live videos than on regular videos. As broadcasters continue to experiment and innovate with Facebook Live, we wanted to highlight some of the recent trends and themes we’ve seen emerge.


1. BREAKING NEWS EVENTS
We know that people are interested in breaking news and what’s happening around the world in real-time. When news organizations and journalists turn to Facebook Live to share breaking news stories as they are happening — from key moments like elections to unexpected events like an earthquake — they see strong engagement. Recent examples include:

  • More than a dozen media organizations used Facebook Live to stream the first U.S. presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. These outlets saw incredible engagement from people eager to watch the historic event and the unique perspectives available via Facebook Live as the candidates went head-to-head. ABC News received 6.2 million views while live, which included their pre-and post-debate analysis. Univision Politica‘s live stream was shared 85,000 times, and Fox News saw nearly 370,000 comments by the time the debate was over, much of which was driven by the watch party they hosted via Live where their key talent weighed in throughout the event.
  • Univision used Facebook Live to stream the breaking details surrounding the death of legendary musician Juan Gabriel and to cover his funeral procession through Mexico City. As an iconic figure in Mexico and much of the Spanish-speaking world, streaming his funeral procession via Facebook Live gave his millions of fans a place to grieve together. The live video ultimately received 3 million views and 36,000 comments.

 

2. SUSPENSE REIGNS
Live videos are often unpredictable and exciting. This is especially true when there is action unfolding in real-time, keeping people tuned-in and interested in what will happen next. We’ve also seen that suspenseful live videos are extremely shareable, as people bring their friends into the moment to watch with them. Here are a few recent examples:

  • In August, a man climbed Trump Tower in New York City, and dozens of news organizations shared the situation live on Facebook. Many broadcasters streamed the experience via the Facebook Live API, while some reporters went live from their phones, providing commentary and updates. Audiences were captivated as the incident played out; watching on Facebook Live allowed people to engage with each other through comments, enabling outlets to monitor and provide the context viewers were looking for. 14 million unique people around the world watched the climb live on Facebook, and 2.5 million unique viewers in the U.S. watched at least one minute of the 80+ live broadcasts. CNN’s live video alone was shared 55,000 times.
  • Jennifer Kendall, a local reporter for FOX 7 in Austin, shared live video of a car suspended from a parking garage as emergency crews came to the rescue. The video was watched nearly a million times as viewers waited to see how the rescue would happen.
  • Multiple outlets, including Fox 10 Phoenix, broadcast a live video of the LAPD visiting the home of Chris Brown after receiving reports of him threatening a woman with a gun. As the story picked up steam, people were eager to watch the story unfold, and outlets like Fox 10 were able to give them raw updates on the action, resulting in 10 million views while live and 175,000 shares.

 

3. WEATHER
It’s no surprise that people care about things that directly impact their lives on a daily basis, and in news, there is no better example of that than weather coverage. People are often looking for the freshest updates on how breaking weather will impact them, and Facebook Live videos during these events give people direct and immediate access and answers from the ground. Whether it’s breaking national weather news, a local weather update, or a Q&A with the station’s meteorologist, we’ve seen that people are interested in these live updates on Facebook. Below are a few examples:

  • The Weather Channel put up a live cam in Cedar Key, Florida just ahead of Hurricane Hermine’s landfall and streamed a single shot for 2 hours. Viewers interest in seeing the storm progress was clear; the video received almost 3 million views and 23,000 comments.
  • When severe weather is headed Baton Rouge’s way, WAFB keeps residents updated with what is happening and what is on its way, like it did during the city’s recent flooding. A photographer from NOLA.com was with the police doing water rescues after this flooding, which was incredibly powerful footage and widely watched.

 

Meanwhile, over in South Bend, Indiana, meteorologist Matt Rudkin uses his phone to take folks behind the scenes for severe weather updates. After the broadcast ends, he often shares more information in the comments section to continue to keep people informed.

 

4. JOURNALIST LIVES

When it comes to live videos with highly engaged viewers, we noticed a standout group: local journalists. Local reporters often have devoted fans who are interested in viewing their authentic Facebook Live content. Certain news content resonates with audiences when it comes directly from the reporters themselves.

  • Facebook Live offers local journalists a different way to connect directly with their audience. North Carolina anchor Kurt Williams has experimented with broadcasting live from behind the scenes of his newscasts, even answering questions as they come through on Facebook during commercial breaks.
  • Chicago reporter Anita Padilla has shared the reporting process directly with viewers on Facebook Live by bringing them out in the field with her. She has shared real-time moments when reports of breaking news come in, as well as when she heads straight to the scene of a story. Padilla often flips the camera around while live, offering both an on camera context as well as her own point of view.