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Facebook Is Talking to Publishers About Hosting Their Content (Video)

Facebook product head Chris Cox talks video and News Feed with Re/code at Code/Media.

Asa Mathat

Facebook is making a pitch to media publishers: Let us host your content for you, and we’ll make it look beautiful (and give you more eyeballs) in the process.

That’s according to Chris Cox, Facebook’s chief product officer, who joined Re/code’s Peter Kafka onstage Tuesday at the Code/Media conference at The Ritz-Carlton in Laguna Niguel, Calif.

Facebook is actually having these kinds of discussion with publishers, Cox says, to figure out a model that would enable Facebook to host content that would otherwise go on a publisher’s own website. Cox says one of the challenges for publishers — including Facebook — is that reading on mobile is still a crummy experience. He believes Facebook can make it better.

“Reading news on a smartphone is still a very bad experience most of the time,” he said, citing problems like speed and general design. “We want to try and make that a better experience for publishers.”

These partnerships aren’t coming anytime soon, and Cox also added that he doesn’t believe publisher websites will disappear in the process. Most publishers, when needed, can provide a better experience for their readers than anyone else on the Web. Facebook can simply help them reach a larger audience.

Cox also spoke to Facebook’s revamped video efforts, which include autoplay videos in the News Feed. Cox says that autoplay videos have been a “massive success,” despite the fact that some employees were concerned internally ahead of the product’s launch.

Facebook has been labeled by some as a YouTube competitor thanks to this success, but Cox wouldn’t go that far. He believes the two platforms can coexist. He described Facebook video as a “window” you peek into throughout the day; YouTube, on the other hand, is more of a library where you go to search for video content.

Nevertheless, Facebook wants people and brands creating video exclusively for Facebook. It’s not, however, willing to pay them for this — yet.

Other platforms, including YouTube and Twitter, have made efforts to reach out to video creators, and, in YouTube’s case, share revenue with them along the way.

Cox says Facebook isn’t rushing to do this. The company drives “awareness” to video creators and their content, but sending them money? He’s not sure how that would work, he added.

Cox spoke for more than 30 minutes at Code/Media, and you can get a recap by reading our liveblog of the conversation below.

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