Facebook announced in a blog post that it is rolling out 360-degree videos on its newsfeed, starting today, including clips from Discovery, GoPro, LeBron James & Uninterrupted, NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” and Vice, as well as an exclusive immersive experience from the highly-anticipated Disney/Lucasfilm sequel “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” due in theaters Dec. 18.
YouTube added 360-degree video support in March. Yesterday, its parent company Google announced that it had partnered with NBC on a 360-degree video project starring digital creators Zach King, Sam Wickert of SoKrispyMedia and Aaron Benitez of VFX Bro designed to promote the Sept. 24 premiere of “Heroes Reborn.”
In her VidCon keynote address in July, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki announced that YouTube would be adding 3D, 360-degree video support for ads, as well as outfitting its YouTube Spaces around the globe with 360-degree Jump system, utilizing array of 16 GoPro cameras. (GoPro’s 360-degree videos on Facebook are being shot on a proprietary six-camera spherical rig announced earlier this year.) But no high-profile 360-degree partnerships have emerged to match today’s announcement from Facebook.
Facebook video has been a hot button topic in recent months. In May, the social networking platform boasted that it was getting 4 billion views a day. Two months later, Facebook revealed it would start running auto-play ads in between clips in users’ “suggested videos,” amidst a growing firestorm of controversy about “freebooting” of copyrighted videos on the platform, stoked by a blog post by VidCon co-founder Hank Green.
Facebook’s 360-degree videos currently work on the web and Android devices. It plans to roll out iOS support in the coming months.