On Tuesday at 3 p.m. ET, National Geographic’s Facebook Page will air the platform’s first 360-degree live stream. The broadcast will document eight scientists returning to the real world after spending the past 80 days living in pods to simulate life on Mars Matt Damon-style. The stream, from the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah, will detail their experience and host a Q&A with viewers.
But, like living on Mars, it will be awhile before any brands beyond National Geographic can try out 360-degree live streaming on Facebook.
Facebook plans to open up 360-degree live streaming to Pages using its Live API tool — that allows them to broadcast on Facebook through non-phone cameras like a 360-degree rig — sometime “in the coming months,” according to a company blog post. And Facebook expects to roll it out to everyone sometime next year, though only people with 360-degree cameras will be able to produce their own “Live 360” streams, as Facebook is calling its 360-degree live-streaming feature.
Whenever Facebook officially opens up 360-degree live streaming — and assuming the resolution doesn’t recall video streaming circa 2006 — it could open up more reasons for viewers to be interested in live streams on Facebook. Sports teams could use it to give people a better of view of what it’s like to watch a game in their stadiums; same goes for music festivals. News publishers could use it to give an even rawer on-the-ground look at breaking news events. And brands could use it when they have an event they know they want to broadcast but don’t know how they want to frame the live stream.