Is the Facebook Live honeymoon over?

At the beginning of 2016, it seemed as if we were all destined to spend our days gawking at live video.

Facebook Live, which debuted in April, was everywhere thanks to an enormous boost in reach bestowed by the social network. News organizations, including The New York Times, BuzzFeed and CNN, were churning out live video after inking deals with Facebook that totaled $50 million.

And who can forget the exploding watermelon? Chewbacca mom? Those ubiquitous little notifications?

Now, however, it appears as if live video's momentum is, well, dying. As Recode reported earlier today, Facebook is no longer making Facebook Live a focal point in its discussions with publishers.

Moreover, publishers interviewed by Recode do not expect Facebook to re-up the livestreaming deals that propelled the launch of Facebook Live; instead, the social network is looking to cultivate "longer, premium video content."

Here's Recode on what the change means for news organizations:

That change in priorities seems to signal a shift away from 'professionally' produced live video, which was a huge point of emphasis for the company in 2016 and something pushed heavily by CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook is still spending millions of dollars on a massive advertising campaign around Facebook Live, but that campaign is targeting regular users, not publishers or celebrities.

Today's news is the latest in a series of developments that run counter to the prevailing consensus that digital video is the future of online content. Last week, the data analytics company Parse.ly published a report showing that consumers spend less time with online video as they do with long-form and short-form text posts.

According to the report, video posts have roughly 30 percent less engaged time than the average post.

And in June, when the furor around live video had reached peak levels, the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism published a report that claimed video news wasn't as popular as the hype suggested. Respondents said that pre-roll advertising, long loading times and the comparative ease of reading articles were all barriers to using live video.

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    Benjamin Mullin

    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 innovation, business practices and ethics.

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