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Facebook reportedly pivots away from Facebook Live, plans Netflix-style original series

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Published Jan 17, 2017   Updated May 25, 2021, 4:43 am CDT

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BY GEOFF WEISS

Facebook made waves last year when it doled out roughly $50 million to major media organizations, Hollywood celebrities, and digital creators alike to produce Live videos in support of its then-nascent streaming feature. Those days are over, reports Recode, which alleges that none of these deals have been renewed and that Facebook is de-emphasizing Live in discussions with media partners today.

Instead Facebook has its eyes on traditional, long-form content à la Netflix, according to Recode. The company’s recently tapped head of global creative strategy, Ricky Van Veen, will helm these efforts, and Facebook may be offering publishers and creators a monetary incentive to produce content in this vein as opposed to Live videos, the outlet reports.

Recode also notes that many publishers who were paid to create Live broadcasts felt the one-year deals weren’t lucrative enough given the amount of time and money necessary to produce quality live shows. Roughly 24 YouTubers, Vine stars, and other creators received a total of $2.2 million to host streams regularly over a five-month period last year. Ray William Johnson is said to have received $224,000, for instance, while Elise Strachan, host of My Cupcake Addiction, reportedly pocketed $196,000.

But Facebook looks to be shifting its focus to premium content. “We’re exploring funding some seed video content, including original and licensed scripted, unscripted and sports content, that takes advantage of mobile and the social interaction unique to Facebook,” Van Veen said late last year of the company’s programming plans.

In addition to paying creators directly for content, Facebook is reportedly testing out mid-roll ads that play 20 seconds after a video starts. This would create a monetization structure similar to YouTube’s, in which Facebook takes a 45 percent cut of ad revenues, according to reports.

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*First Published: Jan 17, 2017, 4:52 pm CST