Facebook’s strategy to lure YouTube stars over to create original video content for its platform is now well underway.
The social network has just signed a new deal with The Young Turks, an American liberal digital news organisation which claims more than 27.5 million unique viewers on YouTube each month. From Monday evening The Young Turks will broadcast a daily weekday series called “Final Judgment,” uploaded direct to Facebook, according to The Wall Street Journal’s CMO Today. The show will see The Young Turks’ co-founder Cenk Uygur sharing his opinions on the day’s top stories.
Episodes will also be posted to The Young Turks’ YouTube channel, but The Young Turks chief operating officer Steve Oh told CMO Today the show is designed to be “Facebook centric.” He also revealed that Facebook and the media company conceived the idea together.
For now The Young Turks will not be generating revenue from Facebook videos via ads, as it does YouTube videos. The idea is to build an audience and then address monetization later. The most likely approach will be to run banners in the bottom third of the video player or ads that run in the middle or at the end of videos. But “pre-roll ads in your news feed would be a disaster,” Oh told CMO Today.
The Young Turks is far from the first organisation to experiment with Facebook original video series. Last week Access Hollywood introduced a daily web series called “Early Access on Hollywood,” and last month ABC News launched its “The One Thing” series. Elsewhere, the National Football League has been distributing video highlights, sponsored by Verizon.
Facebook has been seriously dialling up its video strategy in recent months: rolling out its autoplay function; introducing premium autoplay video ads; and increasing the number of mentions of the important of video in its quarterly earnings and investor calls.
In its most recent earnings call, Facebook said it generated 3 billion video views per day. This makes it a serious contender to YouTube’s video primacy. Indeed, data from social media measurement company Socialbakers found that for the first time ever in December, Facebook Page owners were uploading more videos directly to Facebook than sharing YouTube videos on the platform.
All the recent data and news points to a dramatic shift in power: Until recently, Facebook was not even considered a destination for video. Now Facebook is carving off a big slice of YouTube’s audience for itself — and potentially YouTube’s content creators too.
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