Yesterday, Facebook announced major updates to its Facebook Live service, most of them video-related and aimed at competing with services like Periscope. However, new features aren’t the only weapon in the arsenal the company is using to compete when it comes to video streaming.
The company has been encouraging celebrities to use its service since even before the general public had access to it, but recently a number of news outlets and other media websites have been doing the same. It turns out there’s a good reason for this: some of those companies are being paid to use Facebook’s live video instead of that of its competitors.
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Facebook has confirmed that this is in fact happening, but has generally been vague on what companies it’s working with. “We’re working with a few partners, and in some of the cases that includes a financial incentive,” Fidji Simo, who works on Facebook Live, told Re/code.
While Facebook won’t say what companies it is providing this incentive to, sources speaking to recode have confirmed that BuzzFeed, the Huffington Post, the New York Times, and Vox Media are among those being paid. Tastemade, a video network focusing on food and travel, will soon begin broadcasting 100 videos per month exclusively via Facebook’s service, and it’s being paid as well.
It’s clear why Facebook is willing to pay up to get a foothold in live streaming video, as it’s facing some serious competition. Last month, Periscope claimed that its users watch “over 110 years of live video every day,” and it’s not the only service Facebook has to worry about. YouTube will soon be entering the fray with YouTube Connect, complete with all the power of Google’s infrastructure behind it.
Yesterday’s update to Facebook Live brought a redesigned interface and a number of new features including a “Go Live” button, allowing users to quickly start broadcasting, and a live map providing a real-time overview of broadcasts around the world.