Why Facebook should remember the little guy in Live

Facebook is on a big charm offensive and understandably so after some of its bigger media partners began walking away from some of its platforms over revenue concerns.

So it wasn’t a surprise to see a significant presence from the social media giant at this year’s (excellent) GEN Summit 2017 in Vienna, Austria, the annual conference of the Global Editors Network.

Nick Wrenn, Facebook’s Head of Partnerships for Europe, the Middle East and North Africa

Away from the main hall and the Facebook key note speech, Nick Wrenn, Facebook’s Head of Partnerships for Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, gave an interesting update on Live video in one of the smaller masterclass sessions.

Fast-forward through the general presentation on why Facebook thinks Live is amazing, there were some nuggets of information for any business using Live as a key part of its social video strategy.

Some practical updates such as being able to promote Live videos in scheduled posts were discussed or the ability to go live to anyone engaged with a broadcast (nice application for studio to in-field correspondent there).

Live Audio was another of the updates, essentially podcasting on the fly for media outlets with big Facebook fan bases.

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Sadly no real update on when we’ll be able to boost Live broadcasts as they happen, but perhaps the most interesting part of Nick’s talk was the expanded testing of ad breaks within Lives.

These would be between five to 15 seconds long, feature countdown clocks so published could hold an audience through the ad break, because Facebook is ‘committed to giving newsrooms revenue back’.

Sounds like a step forward but no firm timelines for a firm roll out beyond its testing partners.

However one disappointment for the little guy who likes to sell their own adverts, that’s not under testing at all for the ad break slots it’s only rev share with Facebook.

This is short-sighted I feel. A lot of bigger organisations complain about monetising Instant Articles, but that tends to be more about IA working (or not) with programmatic exchanges.

As I’ve written before, if you are a small to medium size publishers (and tens of thousands of us are) then Facebook lets you keep 100 per cent of the revenue of ads you sell direct (as well they should).

So why not in Live? I guess they are going for the big win with the bigger companies/titles but Facebook shouldn’t forget the little guy in the Live revenue strategy.

A lot of a little adds up to a lot.

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