Facebook Live and other live video becoming a large testing ground for brands and publishers
Live video is at the front of mind for many brands and publishers. The only question is how to use it. Sometimes it takes seeing some good examples to inspire progress within a large media company, so I’m glad that Digiday covered how E! News is not only using Facebook Live, but also making money with it.
Digiday’s Sahil Patel writes, “After spending the past year investing in Facebook Live, NBCUniversal’s entertainment news unit E! News is starting to make money with the format.” Patel continues:
“Last month, E! News launched a new live video series on Facebook called “Freestyle.” Hosted by E! News correspondent Zuri Hall and E! News senior beauty editor Cinya Burton, the show focuses on beauty and fashion, with each episode highlighting different guest experts, products and trends within themes like “hair hacks,” “holiday must-haves” and “lip trends.” Spanning eight roughly 30-minute episodes, the show will run through January on Facebook, where E! News has grown to 9.6 million followers.
Unlike other Facebook Live shows from E! News, “Freestyle” is fully sponsored. Built for Ulta Beauty, each episode is “presented by” the beauty brand. Three episodes of the show will also feature Ulta Beauty products, while an episode airing last week was shot inside an Ulta Beauty store. Other elements of the sponsorship include featuring Ulta Beauty experts to show off the latest hair and makeup trends. Just like E! News’ editorial live videos, “Freestyle” episodes have a polished look featuring higher video quality and multiple camera angles.”
Certainly E! has a leg up on other niches due to the simplicity of their topics, however they’re clearly putting in a ton of effort to not only pull it off, but create digital content that both readers and sponsors enjoy.
Patel says, “E! News produces roughly four hours of Facebook Live content per week, including other recurring shows like TV Therapy and So True or So False.” John Najarian, evp and gm of E! News says that live content averages 300,000 views per episode.
In an article from Jessica Davies in early November, Business Insider U.K. managing director Julian Childs said, “Live content has the potential to be more lucrative and the option for brand integration was there from the start…Facebook’s approach with publishers has been more collaborative on Live than with Instant Articles, which is a welcome change.” That same article noted a few different types of Facebook Live video they’re trying:
“Business Insider U.K., which had 80 million Facebook video views in July, according to Tubular Labs data, ran two branded content Live videos at around the same period. One of the videos came out of a wider branded-content partnership with General Electric and included a Live interview from its in-house content studio, BI Studios, which delved into the major tech advancements on display at the Farnborough Airshow during the summer.
The second fell into the more typical sponsorships bucket, with Adobe underwriting all editorially independent Facebook Live videos made during Cannes Lions festival this summer. These included a tour of News Corp’s yacht in the harbor, and a 15-minute wrap-up at the end by Business Insider U.K. editors Jim Edwards and Lara O’Reilly.”
Davies says News UK is testing out Facebook Live as well:
News UK, which owns national newspapers The Times and The Sun, ran its first branded Facebook Live video for its fantasy football arm Dream Team, which had 60 million Facebook video views in September, according to Tubular Labs data. The 50-minute video, published two weeks ago, was for the beta version of popular game Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, and tapped into the eSports phenomenon. In the video, YouTube gamer Wizzite played the game, which hasn’t yet been released. Viewers were encouraged to interact by guessing things like the number of kills in the stream to win a PlayStation 4 and a copy of the game. The video generated more than 200,000 views, and 1,400 likes.
The Sun does its fair share of Facebook Live videos — the latest being an interview with pop-rock band The Vamps by the publisher’s associate editor Danny Wootton — which are consumed within Facebook. But the goal is always to drive people from Facebook to its own properties where they can read another article, watch a video or read the sidebars.”
Facebook Live isn’t the only live video platform that brands and publishers are leveraging, though. Meerkat and Periscope started the most recent trend of livestreaming, but once Facebook hopped on board, so did Twitter and Instagram. If you’re wondering which platform to use, start with the one where you have the most engaged audience.