Facebook talked up video in its Q4 2016 earnings call, though it gave no confirmation of reports that it is working on an app for TV set-top boxes.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg talked about experimenting with Live 360 video, an audio-only live product for people with slower connections, and live face masks and more camera effects, promising “more updates soon”.

Noting that he sees “video as a megatrend”, he said: “We’re going to keep putting video first across our family of apps and making it easier for people to capture and share video in new ways.”

The firm said it is looking for ways to grow the ecosystem of video content. “Last year we started to invest in more original video content to help seed the ecosystem, and we’re planning to do more in 2017.”

“A lot of the best episodic content is professionally created, and those folks need to make a good amount of money in order to support their business model,” he added.

This may be a reference to news that the firm is in talks with media companies to license long-form, TV-quality programming.

Zuckerberg said Facebook is “focusing more on shorter-form content to start”, but added that “over the longer term, people will experiment with longer forms of video as well and all kinds of different things”.

To make it easier to find and watch videos, Facebook has added a tab at the bottom of its core app with top videos and recommendations. The tab has been rolled out in the US, with plans to bring it to more countries soon.

Video to dominate advertising
Darren Khan, the UK and European MD at online video marketplace Genero, told Mobile World Live that a video-centric application for the TV market “is the biggest indicator yet” that video will dominate the advertising agenda in the 2017 and beyond.

“We have already seen social media platforms alike implement a strategy that thrives on short, snappy video content, with outlets like Snapchat and Instagram thriving. Now Facebook wants a bigger slice of the pie,” he said.

Khan believes a set-top box app could be the perfect platform for brands to produce content that the consumer wants to see, “but personality and storytelling will be the key”.

He added that “brands need to adopt more agile creative and production processes if they’re going to be able to take advantage of the opportunity.”

The social media giant reported a profit of $3.57 billion for the quarter to 31 December, more than double the $1.56 billion figure it reported a year ago, and total revenue hit $8.8 billion, up from $5.84 billion.

Most of its revenue – $8.6 billion – came from ads, and mobile ad revenue made up 84 per cent of this, up from 80 per cent a year ago.

The firm said mobile continues to drive its growth: mobile daily active users were 1.15 billion on average for December 2016, an increase of 23 per cent year-over-year, and mobile monthly active users were 1.74 billion at the end of December.

Zuckerberg also said that 400 million people now use voice and video chat on Messenger every month.