How Many Messenger Video Chats Did We Make in 2017? Oh, Just 17B.

December 17, 2017

12:45 pm

While the year 2016 will likely go down in history for plenty of more important things, it was also the year of the pivot to video. LinkedIn and Tumblr announced their pivots, and at one point even GoPro was planning to launch 32 TV shows in 2017. It was wild.

Now, in late 2017, video has cooled quite a bit, particularly with Facebook’s announcement that they’ll stop priming the pump by cutting a $50 million stipend they’d been paying video publishers. But the company is still planning more video-centric newsfeed tweaks in 2018, and the Facebook spin-off app Messenger is doing great, having fielded a truly massive number of video calls in 2017 so far.

How Many? 17 Billion.

We made 17 billion realtime video calls on Messenger. And the year isn’t even over yet. MarketingLand has the analysis on this number, which was released by Messenger in their year-in-review post:

“People held 17 billion video chats on Messenger between January and November 2017, the company announced on Wednesday. That’s twice as many video chats as they held on Messenger in all of 2016, and the influx of video calls is likely due to Messenger’s adoption of group video calling in December 2016,” MarketingLand notes.

Any given day this year saw over seven billion conversations on the popular messaging app, 260 million of which were started that day.

What It Means

Why are we seeing Messenger ramping up video while even social video giant Buzzfeed is losing its sheen? Part of the answer is because Facebook and Messenger are platforms rather than publishers: Since they own distribution, they have more leverage in negotiations.

But the other reason lies in how the video is functioning. Messenger isn’t a social networking platform, it’s a messaging platform: All the “content” used is generated on the spot, never to be used again and with no long production hours put into it. As the world becomes more connected through our devices’s platforms rather than the open internet, messaging apps are gain more dominance.

Pivoting to video might not be a great solution for anyone who isn’t Now This, but the number of people turning to video to express themselves has never been higher.

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Adam is a writer with an interest in a variety of mediums, from podcasts to comic books to video essays to novels to blogging — too many, basically. He's based out of Seattle, and remains a staunch defender of his state's slogan: "sayWA." In his spare time, he recommends articles about science fiction on Twitter, @AdamRRowe

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