In the past year, Facebook video has exploded, garnering billions upon billions of views per day. Now it's time to monetize.
The company announced last week that it's rolling out a pilot program to begin including advertising in its video content, and that like YouTube, it will split that revenue with content creators, giving them 55% and keeping the rest. At first, the program will only be available to a few select content partners, including Funny or Die, the NBA, Hearst, and Fox Sports. However, if successful, it could roll out to independent content creators by the end of the year.
Unlike YouTube, Facebook won't include their advertising as pre-roll (which would be pretty dicey considering that their videos autoplay most of the time), but instead will include ads between video plays as the company rolls out its "suggested videos" feature. For the time being, suggested videos and advertising will only be sent out to a relatively small percentage of users, and only on the mobile app.
Here's a pair of videos from CBS and Bloomberg that explain what Facebook is doing with this move, and why they're doing it.
For creators of viral video content, this will likely prove to be a profitable venture, much like it is on YouTube. For filmmakers, however, it's hard to say how much of an impact this will have on our ability to make money from our work. As we move past traditional distribution models, it's becoming more and more prudent to explore the various digital distribution models out there, ranging from ad-supported sites to VOD. Since Facebook already provides filmmakers a way to connect with their audiences (and loads of filmmakers are already using it for that purpose), it may very well make the process of distributing work through Facebook simpler. Only time will tell.
What do you guys think? Will Facebook's ad revenue sharing program benefit filmmakers? Share your thoughts down in the comments.