- National Geographic’s Safari Live streams on Facebook pull in roughly 140,000 viewers at a time on average. Several have exceeded 200,000 live viewers.
- The record stream – which saw a cheetah catch up with dinner, has generated nearly a million views.
Just last year, Facebook seemed all in on its live streaming service Facebook Live, as plans came to light that the company was handing out $50 million to media companies and Internet stars to make live content for the platform.
These days, Facebook seems much more interested in its TV-wannabe product Facebook Watch.
But if you like mating rituals, hunting quests or potential species-on-species attacks, Facebook Live is still for you. As it turns out, thousands of people regularly log on to watch live safari videos courtesy of National Geographic.
Since the 21st Century Fox-majority-owned company started producing live safari content twice a day from these live streams pull in roughly 140,000 viewers at a time on average. Several have exceeded 200,000 live viewers. The record stream – which saw a cheetah catch up with dinner, has generated nearly a million views. “We try to give people passenger seats for a safari,” Jonathan Hunt, senior vice president of digital strategy and audience development for National Geographic Partners told Business Insider.
Sometimes that passenger seat means you see animals on the hunt. Sometimes it means leopards looking for lovers. And sometimes, nothing happens.
Regardless, each streamed safari is hosted by a National Geographic guide in the field who takes questions via social media. The media company sees the same fans coming back and commenting on live videos. According to Hunt two people even met watching videos and have gotten married.
Safari Live was an alpha partner on Facebook Live, but was actually born as a TV broadcast on the cable network Nat Geo Wild in 2015. These days on Facebook, each episode lasts between 10 minutes or an hour, depending on what happens or doesn’t.
And as of August, Nat Geo has started editing and repurposing highlight reel from these broadcasts to use as on-demand clips on other digital platforms, like YouTube, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram. That list includes Facebook Watch, where Safari Live has already racked up 8.3 million views.
To date, Nat Geo has focused on building up a following for Safari Live and tweaking its product. The next step is to bring the product to advertisers, said Hunt – albeit carefully. “We’ve built up a lot of equity with our users, so we need to be sensitive,” he said.