Facebook has been trying to encourage media companies and celebrities to use its Live Video feature and hence is paying them cash in return, but how much it is paying was not known until now. The Wall Street Journal recently obtained a document in which it is stated that the social network has signed as many as 140 contracts worth a total of $50 million.
Different pay for different players
The Journal says traditional players such as CNN and The New York Times are among the media outlets Facebook is paying. Digital-only publishers such as Vox, Mashable and BuzzFeed are there as well. Comedian Kevin Hart and Chef Gordon Ramsay are among the celebrities receiving compensation for creating live video.
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Further, the document obtained by the Journal states that some contracts are worth smaller amounts, but 17 of the deals are worth more than $1 million. BuzzFeed and The New York Times are being paid more than $3 million to create live video, while CNN is receiving around $2.5 million.
The Information reported that media companies have been putting in a lot of resources into creating live video, but they don’t get the same kind of engagement as streams by celebrities do. More than 60% of the top 200 most-viewed live videos come from celebrities or public figures, while just 15% came from media companies.
Video now Facebook’s most important focus
In March, the first reports about Facebook making payments to media companies and celebrities to create live videos emerged, with Re/code reporting that COO Sheryl Sandberg was in Hollywood to discuss this with talent agencies and artists’ representatives. The company launched the live-streaming feature for celebrities in 2015 and later rolled it out to everyone.
In April, Fidji Simo, the executive in charge of Facebook Live, told Re/code that the company was working with media partners, and it did offer a financial incentive in some cases. In the same month, BuzzFeed confirmed in a roundabout way that it was one of the partners receiving payments from Facebook.
Last year, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that video, especially Live Video, was the most important focus for the social networking giant. Also earlier this month at a Fortune conference, Facebook Vice President Nicola Mendelsohn said if she had to predict what the site would look like five years from now, “It would be video, video, video.”