Facebook has rolled out an ambitious game plan for the promotion of its Facebook LIVE streaming service. The program, which gives new meaning to the phrase “pay-for-play,” resembles a Hollywood studio model. It will pay handsomely for content originating from select, newsworthy sources and celebrities. The new playbook hopes to compete with rivals like Snapchat, Twitter’s Periscope app and YouTube.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Facebook has agreed to make payments to video creators who feed its Facebook Live service to the tune of more than $50 million. Facebook content partners include established media outfits like CNN and the New York Times; digital publishers like Vox Media, Tastemade, Mashable and the Huffington Post; and celebrities including Kevin Hart, Gordon Ramsay, Deepak Chopra and Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.
In all, contracts with nearly 140 media companies and celebrities to create videos for its live-streaming service have been inked, as Facebook “positions itself to cash in on a lucrative advertising market it has yet to tap—and keep its 1.65 billion monthly users engaged.” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said that Facebook is working on creating revenue-sharing models for creators who use the live video streaming. The company had been in talks with the National Football League to secure rights to “Thursday Night Football” games for the 2016-17 season, before Twitter landed global internet streaming rights to those games.
Earlier this year, Facebook said it would start paying some creators to use its live-streaming product, and some publishers have acknowledged being paid by Facebook. But the document reviewed by the Journal is the most comprehensive list so far of participating content providers and their specific financial dealings with Facebook.
“We wanted to invite a broad set of partners so we could get feedback from a variety of different organizations about what works and what doesn’t,” Justin Osofsky, Facebook’s vice president of global operations and media partnerships, said in a statement.
The value of individual contracts varies widely. The highest-paid publisher is BuzzFeed, slated to receive $3.05 million for broadcasting live between March 2016 and March 2017. Just behind BuzzFeed is the New York Times, which is to receive $3.03 million for a 12-month deal. CNN is third, with a $2.5 million contract.
YouTube has announced that it is starting to enable live-streaming within its mobile apps. YouTube Live — not the official product name but better than “YouTube mobile live-streaming” — isn’t so different from Facebook Live or Periscope. Now, when people click the button in YouTube’s app to record a video, they’ll have an option to record a live broadcast. If they click to go live, they’ll be prompted to enter a video title — like on Periscope and Facebook Live — and then to take a photo that will serve as the video’s thumbnail — unlike on Periscope or Facebook Live.
YouTube’s live broadcasts more closely resemble Periscope than Facebook Live. An on-screen demo showed the video taking up the entirety of the screen with comment overlays floating up vertically from the bottom-left corner of the screen.
YouTube will make its live broadcasts available immediately after a live recording finishes, so that anyone who missed a live stream can watch it after the fact. So do Facebook Live and Periscope. And people who subscribe to a channel will receive notifications when that channel goes live. Kinda like on Facebook. [24×7]