Publisher LittleThings, which targets 30-somethings with feel-good videos, stories, recipes and DIY pointers, was one of Facebook’s first 50 partners for Instant Articles and is testing out the live video feature.
LittleThings has between 25 and 30 employees dedicated to video production, with about 12 who work on live video. At this point, it’s going live at least once if not multiple times per day on Facebook.
Although LittleThings isn’t clocking millions of views yet for live video, the way it has with newsfeed video, live video yields more engagement in the form of likes and shares.
LittleThings’ native videos usually get around 2 million to 3 million views and 100 to 200 comments, whereas a Facebook Live video might get only 50,000 views but 1,000 comments, because people are more engaged.
Facebook certainly values the interactive nature of live video, particularly when it’s consumed by 1.7 billion users, and is paying content producers to drum up more of it. As the Wall Street Journal reported, Facebook has contracts with about 140 media companies and creators, totaling more than $50 million.
Still, publishers like LittleThings and media moguls like Martha Stewart want more diverse compensation models for their original video content.
Although Facebook Live’s less than a year old, one emerging use case is the product tie-in. Like a QVC, it has an air of immediacy.
Several of Meredith’s Martha Stewart video spots were sponsored by brands like ARM & HAMMER Baking Soda and Reynolds Consumer Products, which markets Reynolds Wrap. But brand integrations aren’t limited to lifestyle brands and consumer products.
Sports leagues globally are getting in on Facebook Live action, too.
The Cronulla Sharks are one of 16 professional rugby teams that are part of the National Rugby League (NRL) in Australia.
Several entities own the broadcast rights to live-stream NRL games, including a consortium that consists of the ARL Commission, News Corp. Australia, FOX Sports and Aussie telco Telstra.
After Facebook launched a live-streaming API at F8 in April, the rugby team used Ooyala to live-stream post-game recaps and pre-game features to Facebook using commercial-grade camera equipment.
Although game day is the “crown jewel” for a professional rugby league, according to Scott Maxworthy, head of digital commercialization for the Cronulla Sharks, it’s hard for a league to get around rights restrictions with live game content.
So the league is experimenting with pre-game features on Facebook Live where, for instance, a media personality chats with one of Cronulla’s cheerleaders behind the scenes or interviews a player on the field.
“The reach on one of our pre-game videos was about half a million people, and we found [the live stream] increased traffic to our main website when our fear was that it would erode it,” he said. “Our [next] goal [with Facebook Live] is to enrich the game day experience by delivering the fan perspective while the game is on, or club-specific commentary that’s not in breach of the broadcasting right.”
Maxworthy believes branded content that natively matches the Facebook Live stream will be most successful.
For example, it created a branded reel with an Australian cinema brand HOYTS that aggregated fan content, game highlights and a single movie review.
“The theme of the show was social entertainment, so you can introduce a partner like HOYTS into that conversation without using a disruptive ad,” Maxworthy said. “[Facebook Live] has become a game day marketing activity leading into our big event. It sort of lends itself as a second screen.”
Facebook declined to comment for this story.