Brands Start Hosting Real-Time Video Chats on Facebook

A workaround to live streaming

Media brands were quick to adopt video apps Periscope and Meerkat to broadcast live streams, and now Facebook marketers want in on that action.

Social platform BumeBox started hosting live Facebook chats for brands like VH1 and Discovery Channel back in October, as an alternative to the Twitter Q&As that brands typically organize. For example, Sony Masterworks set up a real-time chat on Facebook to promote a new album from artist Jackie Evancho last fall.

Now, MTV and iHeartRadio are plugging video into those virtual meet and greets.

Late Thursday afternoon, MTV set up a Facebook chat with Teen Mom 2 star Kailyn Lowry to talk about her show. And last week, iHeartRadio ran a Facebook Q&A with YouTube singer Max Schneider. He responded to eight questions from fans in one hour with short video clips.

It's all part of Facebook's plan to turn the site into a video platform for brands, publishers and creators. Clips are uploaded straight to Facebook through BumeBox's platform with a branded logo at the top of the screen, similar to what Periscope streams look like.

The social videos aren't technically streamed since they are uploaded, but the idea is to crank out responses through clips quickly, similar to how brands use Periscope and Meerkat to answer questions in real time.

Unlike Meerkat or Periscope, though, the videos are saved and posted to brands' pages, which Chris Williams, iHeartRadio's chief product officer, said is a major differentiator.

"What BumeBox allows us to do is start a conversation with the fans in our Facebook feed hours or days in advance, set the appointment to connect, and by the time the artist joins in, we have built anticipation and curated the best content for a compelling conversation," he said. "Because of the way the video is published within the chain of conversation, it gives even greater opportunity for the interaction to be shared by fans pre-event, during, and post-event."