By the end of 2022, we'll invest more than $1 bn in creators across Facebook, Instagram: Facebook India’s Manish Chopra
We spoke to Manish Chopra, Director and Head of Partnerships at Facebook India, about how the platform is evolving to cater to the video-first market in India.
We’ve been witnessing a significant shift in our social media platforms. A strong move towards video. Very recently, the head of Instagram mentioned that the platform was going to focus more on video and we’ve already witnessed the introduction and integration of Reels on Instagram and Stories on Facebook. And this seems to be just the beginning. We spoke to Manish Chopra, Director and Head of Partnerships at Facebook India to learn more about what Facebook was planning on the video front. From Reels to Stories, read on to find out what’s coming your way.
What plans does Facebook have for video and music this year?
India is now a video-first Internet market. More than 80% of all data in the country is on video. Video forms an important part of our India strategy, given the predominant role of the medium in driving online consumption and social experiences in India. Over the past year, video has become one of the most important sources of entertainment and source of learning for consumers.
Our video strategy for India is truly reflective of the width of consumer tastes in the country. We are investing in forging partnerships to bring culturally relevant, of-the-moment videos across sports, entertainment, news, and lifestyle like ICC, Filmfare Awards, and IIFA Awards to people. Instagram particularly saw a 60% rise in video views and videos today make up for over a third of posts on Instagram in India. Live has also been an audience favorite with social distancing norms. Since we launched Live video on Facebook, people have made over 8.5 billion broadcasts. Additionally, Facebook offers a wide variety of video features and tools for users, creators, publishers, and artists in India.
Now, Music, in particular, seems to strike a chord with our audience and our efforts are based on two main goals, firstly, enabling people to express themselves through music; secondly, helping artists and fans to connect in deeper, more meaningful ways. We have partnered with some of the top music labels like T-Series Music, Zee Music Company, Tips Music, Sony Music, Universal Music, Times Music, Speed Records, Yash Raj Films, and Saregama as our partners as well as leading Music aggregators These partnerships enable our users to unleash expression in creative ways in short videos, stories and other formats on Facebook and Instagram. Fans can also watch their favorite music videos and discover new music based on their preferences. Moreover, artists and music composers are using our platform to engage with fans. Popular artists from the industry including Himesh Reshammiya, Stebin Ben, Gurnam Bhullar, and Ritviz, are using the platform to unveil new songs on Instagram and Facebook.
Over time, we’ll introduce more features to help our users share, discover, and connect on Facebook.
What are the new additions/changes we can expect to see on the platform?
We have diverse audiences and are focused on providing users timely and culturally relevant videos spanning a wide range of topics and interests that our users care about. Over the past year, we have seen growing interest in fun, entertaining short videos in India with the launch of Reels on Instagram. To further enhance the video experience for our users, we recently started testing the ability for Instagram creators in the country to choose to have their Reels recommended on Facebook and also launched the ability for people to create and watch Reels on Facebook.
We also want to reward creators, especially small creators, for the value they create for our communities, and by the end of 2022, we will invest more than $1 billion in creators across Facebook and Instagram. This investment will include seed funding for creators to produce their own content and bonuses, making it easy for creators to access new, ongoing opportunities to make money for creating content that their communities love.
We are also making it easier for independent artists and creators to share their music across Facebook and Instagram products through the Facebook Independent Artist Program. The program and an easy music delivery process via distributor partners will enable artists to get their music everywhere that Facebook offers a music library, free of charge, including in Stories and Reels.
We will continue to work on providing ways for our Facebook community to connect with their friends and families seamlessly and to build new tools so partners/creators can diversify their revenue and expand their presence on Facebook.
Are we going to see more Reels and short videos than we normally do?
Our community told us that they wanted a way to create and watch short-form content on Instagram, and hence we launched Reels. Our aspiration is to see Indian creators have a global following, and that’s on the back of the discovery surfaces that are available for Reels .i.e. the Reels tab and in Explore.
Trending content also has a role to play here. Music is emerging as a strong driver for trends created on the platform. There are local trends emerging on Reels, like the song ‘Bajre da sitta’, the ‘Bole Chudiyan’ dance challenge, the ‘pawri ho rai hai’ dialogue, and the theme music of the movie ‘Scam 1992’. There are also local adaptations of global trends breaking on Reels as well, like the ‘Runaway Aurora’ filter, the song ‘Cradles’, and the ‘Positions challenge’.
On the product, we’re innovating. Since launch, we’ve made several updates:
- We extended the recording time limit up to 60 seconds
- We extended the countdown timer to 10 seconds while recording, and added options to trim and delete clips from the timeline.
- We made additions to our audio features where you can now save audio clips, share audio pages, and browse for trending songs.
- We launched the Reels tab to make it easier to discover entertaining Reels
- We launched Remix on Reels, which lets you create your own Reel alongside an existing reel.
- We began the test of sharing of Reels from Instagram to Facebook
- We launched insights on Reels
All of this will create more excitement for reels and short-form videos. But that doesn’t mean we’re ignoring other surfaces - Feed, Stories, Live, and IGTV. There’s constant working going on across surfaces too, which will make their experience and thereby their adoption better as well.
Does FB also plan to go the Instagram route when it comes to Reels and short videos? As Adam Mosseri said, Instagram is evolving, is Facebook going to as well?
We are always listening and taking inspiration from what our community wants, and launching India-first products in line with the local consumer tastes and content preferences on the platform. To further enhance the video experience for our users, we recently started testing the ability for Instagram creators in the country to choose to have their Reels recommended on Facebook and also launched the ability for people to create and watch Reels on Facebook.
We are also creating significant opportunities to drive success for our wide array of partners through monetisation tools, such as ad breaks, paid online events, short-form video and live monetisation, etc. We believe we are uniquely placed with our video offering and have made it easier for people to find more videos they’ll like with better navigation, expert curation, and smarter machine learning. With culture going virtual and more people pivoting online, we continue to explore ways to provide video content that is engaging and meaningful for our consumers.
How exactly do you plan to bring music and videos to the forefront on FB, a platform where people still post status updates and photos?
Facebook is deeply entrenched in the cultural fabric of India and over the past year, we have seen the way people have used our platform to reach out, be there for one another, share happiness and celebrate together. We believe we are uniquely placed with our video offering and bring a distinctive opportunity for creators to connect with their fans in unique ways and for people to discover, engage and follow the videos from their favorite creators.
In India, we have invested in Movies, Music, and Cricket to drive engagement and give our community what they want. Over video surface, Facebook ‘Watch’ is built with the belief that watching a video can help you connect more deeply with people. More than 1.25 billion people visit Watch every month globally to discover and share videos from millions of creators and publishers and India is one of the leading markets for Watch.
As a social platform, we see an opportunity to foster deeper, more meaningful connections around music and we’re focused on bringing music into the ways people share, connect and express themselves across the Facebook family of apps. India was one of the first countries where we introduced official music videos on the platform last year and launched a new Music destination on Facebook Watch to allow people to view their favorite music videos and come together through music. We have partnered with leading music labels and publishers to bring music to people where they are already sharing and connecting. We also understand that artists have a unique goal, unique fan base, and a unique presence across our family of apps. They are leveraging Facebook's social fabric to connect and engage deeply with fans.
Rising stars like Maithili Thakur began her journey as an artist posting songs and videos on Facebook. Today she is a traditional folk music singer well known across the country. Popular singers from the industry including Himesh Reshammiya, Stebin Ben, Gurnam Bhullar, and Ritviz, are unveiling new songs on Instagram and Facebook. We have even launched a new program called The Independent Artists Program which makes it easier for artists and creators to share their music across Facebook and Instagram.
How have you seen India's acceptance to Reels grow over the last year, do you think you guys can effectively beat TikTok sometime down the line?
Since the launch of Reels, we’ve said that we want to make Reels in a way that’s unique to Instagram. Reels builds on the foundation that’s been set up with creation tools such as the music sticker and AR. We’ve been engaging with creators consistently to first inform them about the functionality of Reels, sharing best practices, setting up vertical-specific workshops, facilitating mentoring from established creators from India and abroad, and running creator programs like ‘Born on Instagram’ which have a special emphasis on Reels.
As a result today, we’re seeing Reels being used by people to (1) grow and be discovered (2) engage with Instagram’s vast and diverse community (3) publish episodic content - like a series on ‘breaking fashion stereotypes’ by Sakshi Sindwani (4) use music and original audio to drive a variety of trends and (5) share content in new genres like law, economy, and finance.