Jan 9, 2015 · 1 minute

While Facebook focuses on its desire to have media companies and celebrities embrace its platform, the company might also finally make its video ambitions more compelling for consumers.

The company has reportedly acquired QuickFire Networks, a startup focused on allowing high-quality video streams without requiring a lot of bandwidth, for an undisclosed sum. Some "key members" of QuickFire's team will join Facebook; others will be moving on.

QuickFire chief executive Craig Lee says in a statement that the company developed proprietary technology which "dramatically reduces the bandwidth needed to view video online without degrading video quality." It's not clear if the tech will be used at Facebook.

But the acquisition does show that Facebook recognizes concerns about its increasing focus on videos, especially those which automatically play when a consumer stumbles across them in the company's mobile applications, and how that focus affects its users.

The news follows a report claiming that the addition of automatically-playing videos to Facebook's mobile apps has led to a 60 percent increase in data consumption on some networks. That's a problem, as I explained in a post about Facebook's video ambitions:

It’s possible to turn the auto-play feature off in Facebook’s settings, but consumers tend to leave most settings alone and use an application the way its creators intended. This means that many people might be burning through their wireless data faster than before for essentially no reason — besides Facebook’s desire to make its users waste more time, and apparently data, on its app.
QuickFire's technology won't make the automatically-playing videos less annoying to people who don't know how to turn them off, but it could make them less data-hungry. Put another way: Facebook might have just stopped asking consumers to subsidize its efforts to dethrone YouTube as the go-to place for video streaming. It's being...decent.

Or it's reducing its own costs so the video network's margins will be sweeter. Either one.

[Illustration by Brad Jonas for Pando]