Facebook’s paid Live deal terms restrict publishers from selling sponsored streams

Tim Peterson on
  • Categories: Channel: Social Media Marketing, Facebook, Facebook: Business Issues, Facebook: Video
  • If you’re a media company getting money from Facebook to use Facebook Live, that’s the only money you can get for your live streams right now.

    As part of its pay-to-stream deals with media companies, Facebook is contractually prohibiting participating publishers from selling sponsorships against the Live streams that the social network is paying them to produce, according to three people with knowledge of the terms.

    Right now, these publishers are actually in the same boat with media companies that haven’t signed a paid Live deal with Facebook. While Facebook loosened its rules around branded content last month and introduced a labeling system to identify posts paid for by brands, that doesn’t yet apply to Facebook Live, meaning that publishers selling sponsorships against their Live streams could technically run afoul of Facebook. A Facebook spokesperson said the company plans to roll out its branded-content tagging tool for Facebook Live in the coming weeks.

    The spokesperson wouldn’t discuss the paid Live deals, but it’s believed that publishers that have signed these deals would be able to sell sponsorships against their Live streams when the labeling system is extended to Live. They just won’t be able to bill Facebook for those streams, unlike their non-sponsored ones (which are basically sponsored by Facebook).

    The restriction isn’t a red flag for media companies that have either signed or are in the process of signing these paid Live deals with Facebook, according to the people involved. For starters, they’re effectively contractors for Facebook Live. So long as they’re on Facebook’s dime, Facebook can set rules for how they use that time. Besides, they’re still getting paid — which isn’t necessarily the case for their non-Live videos on Facebook — and Facebook is working on ways for them to get paid without Facebook doing the paying.

    “We know that partners are going to need a way to really monetize their presence on Live, and we’re really committed to finding a monetization model that works for them,” Facebook’s product director for video, Fidji Simo, told Marketing Land last month.

    Digiday has reported that Facebook is weighing whether to introduce some kind of video ad or banner that would run in the middle of a live stream.


    About The Author

    Tim Peterson
    Tim Peterson, Third Door Media's Social Media Reporter, has been covering the digital marketing industry since 2011. He has reported for Advertising Age, Adweek and Direct Marketing News. A born-and-raised Angeleno who graduated from New York University, he currently lives in Los Angeles. He has broken stories on Snapchat's ad plans, Hulu founding CEO Jason Kilar's attempt to take on YouTube and the assemblage of Amazon's ad-tech stack; analyzed YouTube's programming strategy, Facebook's ad-tech ambitions and ad blocking's rise; and documented digital video's biggest annual event VidCon, BuzzFeed's branded video production process and Snapchat Discover's ad load six months after launch. He has also developed tools to monitor brands' early adoption of live-streaming apps, compare Yahoo's and Google's search designs and examine the NFL's YouTube and Facebook video strategies.