Facebook Live may be reaching saturation levels in the U.K., as the country’s top publishers including the BBC, The Guardian, Daily Mail, and Sky News created a total of 850 Live videos last month — a figure that has stayed flat for the past six months.
This stagnation, Digiday reports — citing figures from analytics outfit SocialBakers — likely coincides with the fact that Facebook has ceased paying media companies to create Live content. Facebook, which made waves last year when it doled out roughly $50 million to major media organizations, celebrities, and digital creators to crank out Live video, reportedly opted not to renew those deals,
Last June, the number of Facebook Live videos by U.K. publishers peaked at a total of roughly 1,360, Digiday reports — though that number fell to 1,030 in July and 870 in August, where it has gestated for the past several months. While Digiday notes that publishers are likely de-prioritizing Live in order to experiment with newer formats, including 360-degree videos, VR, and live audio, Facebook is not yet shelling out payments to encourage this kind of content.
And while there have been breakout success stories on Facebook Live — including BuzzFeed’s infamous exploding watermelon broadcast and Candace ‘Chewbacca Mom’ Payne, whose giggle-fest became the most-viewed Live video ever — research analyst Matti Littunen of Enders told Digiday that, in the U.K., “very few professional publishers did well on Live under the subsidies” in terms of engagement.
Facebook has yet to roll out a monetization structure for Live videos, which could be another cause for the stagnation, though the social network has reportedly started testing mid-roll ads in both standard videos and live streams. Many within the industry also assume that Facebook has switched up its News Feed algorithm in a way that has stemmed the reach of Live content, Digiday reports.