June 21, 2016

Facebook is shelling out to make its livestreaming service popular, and media companies have been among the biggest beneficiaries.

In sum, the social networking giant has signed 140 contracts with various celebrities and news organizations worth a combined $50 million, The Wall Street Journal disclosed Tuesday. The biggest paydays have gone to BuzzFeed, The New York Times and CNN, which inked annual contracts of $3.05 million, $3.03 million and $2.5 million, respectively.

The outlets chosen to pilot the program were selected for their skill in producing live video, according to the Journal:

Facebook invited publishers to be part of the program based, in part, on their track record with live video, Mr. Osofsky said. Among other factors, Facebook also looked for public figures who were able to “easily produce and test a variety of live programming,” be it by breaking news or conducting interviews with interesting people.

Several of the news organizations cited in The Wall Street Journal report — including BuzzFeed, The New York Times and Vox Media — previously acknowledged accepting Facebook’s money.

The Journal’s disclosure comes as news organizations are investing big in video production, partly in response to Facebook’s decision to prioritize video in its News Feed algorithm. Video also commands a higher price per impression than display advertising, and it’s less susceptible to ad blockers being implemented by a growing segment of news consumers.

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Benjamin Mullin is the managing editor of Poynter.org. He previously reported for Poynter as a staff writer, Google Journalism Fellow and Naughton Fellow, covering journalism…
Benjamin Mullin

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