Facebook is talking about expanding its TV-like service, Watch, into a rival to Google's YouTube by opening the platform to more individual creators, according to several people familiar with the plans. This would increase the amount of long-form video content that Facebook can sell ads against, and could reverse a decline in the time users are spending on the site.
Facebook wants to allow more people to create their own shows on Watch, according to three media agencies who asked they remain anonymous because the conversations are private. Instead of buying rights to these shows, however, Facebook wants to create a system where creators can upload their shows for free, then earn a cut of the revenue from ads placed on that content — similar to how YouTube pays its online creators. Another source with knowledge of the situation said Facebook's ultimate goal is to create a sustainable ad-supported video platform, where it won't have to pay for the majority of content.
Creators are hungry for other video platforms that can earn them more revenue after YouTube made it harder to earn advertising money on its platform. Amazon has also talked to advertising agencies about creating more ad-supported video initiatives.
More broadly, the move continues Watch's encroachment into YouTube's territory. Currently not everyone on Watch makes advertising revenue. Facebookpays some media, production companies and creators for rights for their shows, ranging from $10,000 to $500,000 per episode depending on the length and exclusivity, according to four companies who have Watch deals. Some shows are uploaded for free on a "partner" basis.
Facebook declined to comment.