In an exclusive interview with Variety yesterday, Dan Rose, Facebook’s VP of partnership went on record with the fact that Facebook is interested in or in negotiations with celebrities to add to its live-streaming “library.”
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If Facebook were able to strike a deal with the NFL to offer live-streaming of games that would truly be coup as well as an excellent opportunity for users of Facebook who would cut the cord if not for football season. It’s believed that Facebook faces competition in this arena from both Amazon.com and Verizon.
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In addition to live games, Facebook is apparently interested in locker room footage after the game, as well as on-field and behind the scenes content.
“There’s a lot of interesting things we can do with sports,” Rose said. He added, “If you think about how people engage on Facebook today, it’s not really around watching three hours of video.”
Additionally, the social media giant has made inroads with talent agents to see if they can get their clients interested in live video-streaming.
“We’re talking to a lot of folks about live (video). There are a ton of types of content that can fit under this format,” Rose said.
“I’m not going to rule anything out. We’ll try a lot of different ideas,” Rose continued. “There are a lot of different cuts you can imagine.”
Facebook looking to pay celebrities for content?
When Facebook first launched its live-streaming platform last summer, it was only made available to celebrities ahead of its scaled-up release to millions in a number of different markets. Consequently, it’s not a big stretch that Facebook would reach out to celebrities to provide content to the platform.
It is, however, a bit surprising that the company is willing to pay upfront to a number of these celebrities.
“It’s not going to be huge amounts of money,” said Rose adding that it will depend on individual time and content commitments from celebrities. “We’re identifying a small number of people who can move quickly – if we are asking them to go live several times a week for a decent amount of time, we want to be sure they’re motivated to do that,” he continued.
Ross explained that that model would only be employed at the beginning with Facebook set to offer revenue sharing deals down the line with celebrities who continue to provide fresh content. Whether this money will come from embedded advertisements in the video or from another source was left a bit ambiguous by Ross.
“We’re looking for partners who can really build the product as they push the boundaries of what’s possible,” he said.
While a number of celebrities are already supplying live-video, Ross said that the social media site really wishes to ramp this up as the company is “in a mode where we really want to encourage people to do more of it,” Rose said.
Facebook’s interest in live video rather than simple video content is based on the fact that users watch live video for three times as long as recorded video and the levels of engagement from live-video are higher and social media platforms are all fighting for engagement as user numbers slow.
It will be interesting to see how far the company goes with live video and what celebrities are willing to get on board with them.