A year after introducing live video, Facebook Partners With BBC To Bring Live Audio Streaming

By Magic Man , Updated Dec 21, 2016 11:41 AM EST

It has been a year since Facebook invested heavily on live video. One year hence, the social network company is adding an audio option. In partnership with British Broadcasting Corporation or BBC, the feature will be initially available to publishers. The main objective is to complement video streams with a lower-bandwidth feature.

According to Facebook, taking first crack at the live audio streaming option will be partners LBC Radio, BBC World Service, Harper Collins and authors Adam Grant and Brit Bennett. The service will then be available to the public by next year.

In a blog post, Facebook product specialist Shirley Ip and software engineer Bhavana Radhashkrisnan explained the importance of live audio. "We know that sometimes publishers want to tell a story on Facebook with words and not video."

The audio streaming option will come in handy in areas where telecommunications networks are finding it difficult to handle the large data requirement of video streaming.

In its blog post, Facebook understood the importance of live audio. "Just as with a live video on Facebook, listeners can discover live audio content in News Feed, ask questions and leave reactions in real time during the broadcast, and easily share with their friends," With live audio, listeners can ask questions and leave reactions in real time during broadcast.

Audio Live will first be tested with the pre-selected partners before it is broadly rolled out next year. To be able to listen to live streams, you will need to open Facebook on your mobile device. Users can close the app and continue to listen.

With live audio, Facebook could give audio service SoundCloud stiff competition. SoundCloud serves as the primary way for users to share audio clips on Facebook. The service has 175 million registered users compared to the 1.7 billion of Facebook.

Live audio will also benefit those who live in areas with poor connectivity as audio will be easier to pull off than video streaming due to less constraints. 

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