Facebook buys tech firm Vidpresso to help push interactive video

Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California. (Facebook)

Facebook has acquired tech firm Vidpresso amid its continued push to shift its users away from passive video experiences and toward more interactive content.

Vidpresso launched in 2012 and counts KTXL, Univision, BuzzFeed, Turner Sports, Nasdaq, TED and NBC among its clients. According to TechCrunch, Facebook is buying Vidpresso’s seven-person team and its tech but not the actual company.

In a blog post, Vidpresso said joining Facebook could help the company fully realize its vision for making live streaming video more interactive.

“By joining Facebook we’ll be able to offer our tools to a much broader audience than just our A-list publishing partners. Eventually, it’ll allow us to put these tools in the hands of creators, so they can focus on their content, and have it look great, without spending lots of time or money to do so,” the company wrote.

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The Vidpresso deal follows other steps Facebook has taken lately to introduce more interactivity to the video on its platform. In June, Facebook rolled out gamification features like polls, quiz questions and challenges.

As Facebook has made changes to its platform in hopes of “encouraging meaningful interaction,” it has seen passive consumption of video—or just watching videos that appear in users’ timelines—decline. Facebook has said that passive interactions with its platform are not good and that it is trying to encourage more active use of Facebook features by consumers.

This comes along as Facebook continues to invest in Watch, its embedded platform for ad-supported original content from publishers and creators.

“So what we're seeing so far is that a bunch of the content that has come onto Watch is good and is working and people watch it. We're continuing to treat the product to emphasize that kind of content more while building more of these social features,” said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg during an earnings call in April. “I'd say it's still pretty early overall in terms of the growth of this, but it's clearly an area that's important where I think we have something unique that we're going to bring to make this successful.”