At yesterday’s F8 conference, Facebook revealed a slew of updates to its video offerings that should give YouTube a serious run for its money.
Until now, most people had been viewing Facebook and YouTube as two social media networks that were used in different ways. YouTube was where you went to search for videos produced by professionals, or independent creators looking for a large general audience such as vloggers and amateur comedians. Facebook is where you went to see personal videos uploaded by friends and family.
However, Facebook has clearly indicated that it has higher aspirations for its video offerings. Over the last few months it has been touting the tremendous growth it has been getting in video views (now up to 3 billion a day) and the number of brands that are starting to embrace it as the primary video content delivery channel. Facebook doesn’t just want the amateurs, it wants the pros, and to that end, it announced several new features to its video product at F8:
That last feature is an especially important part of what makes Facebook a worthy challenger to YouTube. YouTube has long been the domain of independent video content producers who don't have a film studio or TV network to give them an audience. And YouTube has rewarded them by sharing ad revenues, and giving them the exposure they needed to land bigger deals. But there have been increasing complaints about YouTube’s policy of taking over half the ad revenue generated from these videos, leading some content creators to rebel by forming competing video networks or simply hosting videos on their own platforms.
If Facebook can offer a monetization deal that’s even slightly more generous than YouTube’s, it could successfully woo the top YouTube content creators over to its platform. According to the Wall Street Journal, it’s already trying to do that. While Facebook’s product management director Fidji Simo declined to comment on what Facebook’s monetization offer would look like, she did say the company was slowly testing out several models and was working towards rolling one out soon for creators. At the rate at which Facebook is going, you can bet we’ll be seeing that monetization model sooner rather than later.