Some publishers and creators are already making money from using Facebook Live. Facebook pays them. But Facebook isn’t going to pay everyone. So if Facebook wants everyone — especially digital celebrities and publishers that are used to making money from their YouTube videos — to be using Facebook Live, then at some point, Facebook will need to find a way to help them generate their own revenue. And it’s getting closer to that point.
On Thursday, at VidCon, the digital video industry’s version of Comic-Con, Ana Kasparian from digital video news network The Young Turks asked Facebook’s video product boss, Fidji Simo, when the social network will introduce a way for creators to make money from their Facebook Live streams. Simo didn’t necessarily break out her calendar or Facebook’s whiteboard, but she did indicate that ads are on their way and will likely land in the middle of live streams, as Digiday had previously reported that company is exploring.
“What you can expect us to do over the next couple months is experiment with a lot of different models that are going to be appropriate for certain creators for certain kinds of formats and try to figure out what works, but really explore a variety of things,” Simo said.
One of those things Facebook seems poised to explore is putting ads in the middle of live streams. Again, Simo didn’t spell that out — Facebook’s PR team is very good at training their execs to not say anything that’s not yet in a press release — but she winked at the possibility with a probably not-so-hypothetical hypothetical.
“Live videos tend to run longer. It’s actually not unusual for people to broadcast live for longer than an hour,” Simo said. “So you can easily imagine that an ad break in the middle of a live video could work well in that context.”
Facebook did have some non-ad features for Live to announce on Thursday. Sometime later this summer, people will have the ability to use Facebook-owned mobile app MSQRD to put MSQRD’s Snapchat-like filters on their faces while they’re live-streaming using Facebook Live. People are also going to be able to have someone located somewhere else join their Facebook Live a la Google’s Hangouts On Air, but limited to one other person. Also like Hangouts On Air, people will be able to schedule upcoming Live broadcasts so that their friends and followers can request to get notified when the broadcast goes live or be put into a virtual waiting room ahead of the live stream in order to not miss the start.