Facebook pushes pre-roll ads on Watch as it stops subsidizing Live

Everyone’s least favorite ads are coming to Facebook, but pre-rolls will only appear on original Watch tab videos you purposefully view and not in the News Feed. Facebook is embracing pre-rolls after years of shunning them as it tries to make pay outs to video creators sustainable. Facebook’s head of video Fidji Simo tells TechCrunch that it will not renew direct subsidies to Live News Feed video broadcasters, confirming a Digiday report about it halting payments that included $50 million in contracts for 140 publishers and celebrities.

“A lot of the deals . . . were always meant to be temporary” says Simo. “We have been funding content for a while. We thought we’d launch a new type of format, and we tried to help publishers learn how to make that content work.” Facebook has a new set of deals to pay up front for Watch shows, and that includes some recurring Live shows. But when asked if Live payments that funded content like BuzzFeed’s watermelon rubber band broadcast would be allowed to run-out by early next year and not be renewed, Simo said “yes”.

Instead, Facebook will encourage Live News Feed video broadcasters to use branded content sponsorships and mid-roll ads. But videos must now be at least three minutes long to qualify and put the Ad Break at least one minute in, opposed to the old rules that required videos to be at least 90 seconds with the mid-roll at least 20 seconds in.

On a more positive note, Facebook will be upranking the News Feed presence of Watch original video shows that get consistent viewership, and it will display Shows in News Feed to users who follow the Show’s creator’s Page even if they haven’t viewed or subscribed to the Show itself yet.


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