Facebook is determined to secure its lead in online video by expanding its offerings to include live streaming content from a panoply of established media companies as well as social media celebrities, according to The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the news. WSJ cited an internal document from Facebook listing the contracts and payment amounts.
Facebook is spending $50 million to coax around 140 companies and celebs to use Facebook Live, the social network’s streaming video service, now available to all its 1.7 billion monthly users. Media companies receiving payments to broadcast live streaming video on Facebook include BuzzFeed and The New York Times, both receiving just over $3 million, and CNN, getting $2.5 million.
On the celeb side, big names on the Facebook payroll include celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay, self-improvement guru Deepak Chopra, and NFL quarterback Russell Wilson, among others. According to the WSJ, contracts are structured around how many live streams the company or individual is willing to make and the length of videos.
Facebook’s giant user base already watches around 100 million hours of video daily in newsfeeds – a colossal amount but still just about half of still-dominant YouTube, which claims its audience consumes a remarkable six billion hours of video per month, or roughly 200 million hours of video per day. With its high relevance and interest, and live streaming video may give Facebook the boost it needs to even the playing field, especially with Facebook’s promotional power behind it (users receive notifications when a publisher they follow is live streaming).
Of course, Facebook isn’t the only social media company betting big on live streaming video, facing competition from Snapchat, Periscope, and YouTube itself.
On that note, earlier this week Tumblr announced that it is introducing live video to its blogging and publishing platform, with support for YouNow, YouTube, Kanvas, and Upclose. Tumblr is also working with an array of media partners and organizations to live stream content and events, including MTV, Mashable, The Huffington Post, Refinery29 and Time Out.