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Here are three questions we hope Facebook answers about its livestreaming video push

Earnings would be a great time to answer these, by the way.

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Facebook reports its Q2 earnings on Wednesday, and some of the big questions around its business — at least the most immediately relevant questions — have to do with video. More specifically, live video, and how the company plans to turn its recent livestreaming push into a boon for its bottom line.

When the company fields analyst questions after markets close on Wednesday, we’ll be looking for a few answers about how Facebook Live fits in long term. Here’s what we want to know.

  1. When will Facebook monetize live videos? The company is currently paying celebrities and media organizations (including Vox Media, which owns this site) to create Facebook Live content each and every month. That’s not really sustainable. Facebook will eventually need to come up with a way for content creators to monetize these videos on their own, either with a subscription fee or advertisements or some other idea we haven’t thought of. Creators would like to know when that will happen, and investors would like to know when Facebook will start turning these live video streams into money streams.
  2. Does Facebook want to become a digital TV network? Twitter is clearly interested in going down this path, and Facebook has shown interest in certain streaming rights, too. It sniffed around when the NFL was shopping its digital rights earlier this year, and has already cut deals with the NBA and ABC to stream some live sports and political coverage. But how serious is Facebook about becoming a digital destination for TV-like shows and broadcasts? It’s a little tough to tell.
  3. Whatever happened to Facebook’s big livestreaming app update? Back in April, Facebook announced that it was going to put a live video button right in the middle of the app’s toolbar, an easy way to click and sift through all kinds of live video content that might otherwise be hard to find. I don’t have this update and have yet to find anyone else who does. Where is it? And why is it taking so long to roll out? You can bet video creators would like a central place to showcase what they’re filming, and if Facebook is serious about pushing live video, it’ll need to make the streams much more accessible to users. The delay, then, is confusing.

One thing to note on Facebook’s video push more broadly is that the company has pretty much retired its “daily video views” metric, which it touted for most of 2015. Now, Facebook seems to focus on users’ time spent watching video instead of total views. The change may have something to do with Snapchat’s video success; the younger app was quickly gaining on Facebook’s daily video views total at the time the metric was retired.

Facebook reports earnings after market close Wednesday. Analysts are looking for profit of 81 cents per share on $6 billion in revenue for the quarter. That would represent about 49 percent revenue growth over the same quarter last year.

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