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Oscars: Academy to Stream Smartphone Video via Facebook Live (Exclusive)

For this year’s Oscars, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences will turn on a new digital fountain to feed the frenzy: The org will stream live video exclusively on Facebook, shot on smartphones before, during and after the show.

The Academy’s Facebook Live streams will broadcast unfiltered action from the red carpet and backstage — the idea is to let users watch live as if they were there at the festivities. The live video will be hosted on Sunday, Feb. 28, at the Academy’s Facebook page, whose 2.1 million followers will receive a notification when the video is broadcasting on the social service.

The AMPAS Facebook live-stream is separate from the ABC-produced digital “Oscars Backstage” live show, featuring a lineup of hosts and correspondents. Last year, ABC distributed “Oscars Backstage” on Facebook; the network’s partners for this Sunday’s show are AOL, Comcast Xfinity (both online and on TV) and Yahoo.

“Facebook is an extremely valuable partner, and this year we’re teaming up to deliver a unique behind-the-scenes experience to our millions of Oscars fans on the platform,” said Josh Spector, the Academy’s managing director of digital media and marketing. “By using Facebook Live, we’re going to show fans a fun new angle on this incredible event.”

Added Monica Austin, who leads Facebook’s movies and TV media partnerships, “By embracing this new format, the Academy will give people at home a chance to go backstage, walk the red carpet and get an all access look at the show exclusively on the Academy’s Facebook page.”

For Facebook, the deal with the Academy exemplifies how bullish the social giant is on video — it serves an average of 8 billion video views daily — and on live streaming in particular, as it takes on players like Twitter’s Periscope and Meerkat. It also demonstrates that Facebook is positioned to be a live broadcast partner, with global reach, for media brands.

The deal is purely promotional for both Facebook and AMPAS, as Facebook Live doesn’t carry any advertising currently and the Academy has not enlisted an outside sponsor for the live-stream.

“Live video is one of the things I am most excited about, because it’s so raw and so visceral,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg said at a town hall Q&A Friday. He announced that Facebook Live will be coming to Android devices in the next week and is now available in more than 30 countries, after opening up to all U.S. iPhone users last month. Previously Facebook Live was available only to celebs and other public figures.

AMPAS’ live Facebook video broadcasts from the Academy Awards are slated to include a red-carpet feed, shot from the top of the staircase as people walk up the steps into the Dolby Theatre; two video streams shot at a pre-show stage, where talent will be interviewed; a video feed from the side of the stage during acceptance speeches; and video from the press interview room backstage. In addition, the Academy will have a live feed showing attendees on the red carpet entering the Governors Ball. As soon as the live streams end, they will become available as on-demand videos on the page.

The Facebook video is on top of a slew of digital content the Academy also plans to push out to YouTubeTwitter, Instagram, Oscar.com and other platforms.

Along with the Academy, Facebook says several celebrities plan to live-stream video from the Oscars.

Those are set to include actor-comedian Kevin Hart; Whoopi Goldberg, who will give fans a look at her pre-show ritual, her car ride to the show and post-show recap; and chef Wolfgang Puck, who is expected to broadcast live from the kitchen before the doors to the Governors Ball open. Meanwhile, Sylvester Stallone will launch his official Facebook page timed to the Oscars, including a live video from the red carpet.

In addition, TV entertainment shows “Access Hollywood” and “Entertainment Tonight” will be using Facebook Live to stream video as part of their coverage.

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