- Last year, Facebook cut deals with a number of publishers to produce high-quality content for the then-new Facebook Live streaming feature, reportedly spending more than $50 million at the time, according to Recode. Recode now reports Facebook is no longer planning to pay publishers and other official pages for live video and is instead pivoting toward long-form, premium video content for News Feed.
- The social media giant has an ongoing ad campaign to drive adoption of the Live platform with regular users, indicating it's still bullish on live video, but not willing to continue paying professionals to produce it at the moment.
- Anonymous sources speaking to Recode claim Facebook never intended for paid live content deals to be a long-term solution, with the company instead seeing those agreements as a stepping stone for building out Facebook Live's content and publicity.
Live video content has been shaping up to be one of the hot marketing items in 2017, blowing up on Facebook, Instagram Stories and Twitter, and the latest report suggests that Facebook no longer sees a need to buoy an offering that has gained significant traction. Facebook peeling back its paid deals while continuing to push for more widespread user adoption shows the company is likely waiting to see what people actually do with the medium and where they spend their time on Live.
As competitors like Snapchat dive into producing original series exclusive to their platforms, Facebook is also likely aiming to stake out similar territory with the pivot toward premium video content, and Recode suggested that the result of these efforts might look something like Netflix.
One issue around paid live content is that the amount publishers were receiving for their efforts wasn’t enough to offset the cost in time and money spent to produce it, per Recode. Beyond up-front payments, publishers didn’t have many revenue-generating options on Live. Facebook did begin testing mid-roll ads in live video late last summer and officially rolled out mid-roll options for other video offerings at publishers' discretion last week in a larger push toward video monetization.
Live video as a format remains an intriguing content type for marketers, and they have a number of options to work with, including Facebook Live, YouTube Live and Twitter’s Periscope.