Content Wars: Facebook takes YouTube head on

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By Graduate Consultant Stuart Roberts 

Every day we engage in discussions with thought leaders, discover another hilarious video, and marvel at breathtaking pictures on the internet. But where do we seem to stumble upon all this free content? The answer for most of us is overwhelmingly Facebook.

Facebook has long failed to recognise the monetary value of creative content that is hosted on their platform. Content that is making them money through bringing and keeping users fixated on their feeds and incidentally the ads they are paid to display.

In the fight for video publishing supremacy Facebook has now however shown a shift in focus and announced that they will begin to share advertising revenue with video publishers.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has seemingly discovered the error in his ways, and decided to take YouTube head on.

“There’s a certain class of content which is only going to come on to Facebook if there’s a good way to compensate the content owners for that.”  Mr Zuckerberg said in a conference call with investors.

The new Facebook system follows a model where publishers get paid a percentage of profits when users click on a ‘suggested video’ and an ad appears. But not all publishers may be profiting, at least not yet.

“For premium content we’ll give a revenue share on a portion of the views to the content owners.” He goes on to say.

This raises a whole gamut of intriguing questions that have yet to be answered convincingly. What could possibly be described as ‘premium’ content, who decides who gets paid and how much?

This discretion in payment is very different to YouTube’s scheme and bound to shake things up. It may cause major production companies to start publishing shows on Facebook and directly target Netflix.  A more likely result may be a sponsorship program where key content creators are paid for Facebook exclusivity potentially taking away market share from YouTube.

Our question is, what will this mean for social media marketing? For instance, there may be the potential to recuperate costs of video production through uploading videos directly to Facebook rather than YouTube. The value of paid advertising on Facebook would also increase with a higher quality of content ensuring users spent more time on the platform. We as marketers are always looking to use these changes to our advantage. It will no doubt be interesting to see what people come up with!

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