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Facebook wants to split ad revenue with Facebook Live partners instead of just paying them

Publishers are already bracing for the change.

Facebook’s VP of Partnerships Dan Rose.
Asa Mathat

Facebook has been paying celebrities and media publishers like BuzzFeed, the New York Times and Vox Media* to use its live video product for the past year.

Now, those agreements are reaching their one-year mark, and the company says it hopes to transition those publishers to a revenue-sharing model instead of just paying them outright to make live videos.

“When we talked about it with people up front, we told them we were going to pay for the first year. That’s kind of [ending] around now,” Dan Rose, Facebook’s VP of partnerships, said at the Code Media conference at the Ritz-Carlton in Dana Point, Calif.

“We’re going to probably extend some of those for a while longer just to make sure people have a chance to transition, but the longterm model is rev-share,” he added.

Recode reported last month that publishers were preparing for this transition, and while Rose declined to talk about specific deals, more than half a dozen publishers Recode spoke with said they aren’t expecting to get a new deal.

Instead, Facebook is focused on getting longer, high-quality videos from these publishers to put inside its new video section of the app. Rose said that Facebook isn’t ready to target TV-style 30-minute shows just yet, but that Facebook is looking for more five- to 10-minute-long videos instead.

Facebook will incentivize publishers to create longer stuff the same way it did with live videos — by paying them. Facebook has a history of paying content creators in order to jumpstart new formats. It pays VR developers to build for Oculus, for example, and Rose says the company will do the same to get publishers creating longer videos for the video tab.

The ultimate plan is for those deals to be temporary, though.

“Our goal is to get it seeded and then move to a model that scales over time with rev-share,” Rose explained. “Our business model in all of these areas is going to be rev-share, and that’s our hope with live as well.”

Facebook started testing a mid-roll advertising option for live video in the fall, and Rose pointed to that as a way Facebook and publishers will make money from live down the road.

It is also planning to test a mid-roll ad unit for non-live videos, but has not yet started that test, Rose said.

* Vox Media owns this website.

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