Facebook overtakes Twitter in TV apps race

Sparkloft’s take: Twitter’s cushy lead on social television is being overtaken by Facebook’s recent announcement that the social network will roll out an app for already existing Facebook videos, soccer game livestreams and, eventually, original shows.

The apps race for television now has Facebook pulling ahead.

Recode reports that Facebook unveiled a new app at the Code Media Conference in Dana Point, California, Tuesday that will project already available Facebook videos on your television through Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Samsung Smart TV. The app is expected to rival other social video apps like YouTube — which has been doing this since smart TVs and ChromeCast — and Twitter — which entered the video app game last year with big contracts to livestream professional American sports.

But Facebook is looking to go beyond existing content. Business Insider reported back in December that Facebook was in conversations with television studios and producers about licensing original shows for the platform. Additionally, the Wall Street Journal reported in July that the social network was working out contracts with 140 media companies and celebrities to produce live content exclusively available on Facebook, like CNN, the New York Times, Vox Media and Mashable.

Facebook released that users were watching more than 100 million hours of video every day in 2016, a number sure to increase as they move toward the television sector.

Twitter Live came in with a splash, first unveiling in September its own app with Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Microsoft’s Xbox One focused on sports, including an exclusive contract with the NFL to stream Thursday Night Football.

Not long after its introduction, Buzzfeed took advantage of Twitter Live by featuring real-time election coverage. On desktop, the live video was accompanied by real-time Twitter conversation allowing users to experience both features at once. The night pulled in 6.8 million viewers all over the world, while introducing the potential for a new medium in social advertising.

While Twitter held an impressive lead in the future blend of social and television, Mashable reports that Facebook managed to secure a slice of the live sports pie. The corporation plans to partner with Univision and stream Mexico’s Liga MX soccer league games, a much larger appeal to sports audiences outside of the U.S.

So, what’s next? From this Spark’s perspective, Facebook seems motivated to continue to dominate everything on the internet, and will likely secure some pretty awesome original content in doing so. Twitter will attempt to keep its footing in the American sports arena while continuing to pursue television shows that are already popular on their platform. I wouldn’t be surprised to see TGIT or Freeform content toward Twitter, where fans already flock to weekly to connect.