Facebook has begun making inroads with YouTube content creators in a bid to woo them over to the social networking platform, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. YouTube shows like The Annoying Orange have been testing the waters at Facebook, where they are delivered to users’ news feeds and posted on individual creator’s pages.
As mentioned in our September cover story, Facebook is just one of a number of players–including Yahoo and Twitter–that are looking to take a bite out of the rapidly growing pie of digital marketing dollars and topple YouTube from its dominant perch in online video. According to a recent report from research firm eMarketer, YouTube, which is owned by Google, will generate an estimated $1.13 billion from video advertising this year. So far Yahoo has been the most aggressive in courting YouTube creators, though its efforts have been largely unsuccessful because of the constraints–such as exclusivity clauses and a desire to own the content–that Yahoo has put on contracts.
But Facebook could be a more formidable threat. Although at this point there is no way for creators to monetize their videos on Facebook (that is likely to change as Facebook evolves its strategy), it is not being bullish on owning the rights to videos. Facebook also is more generationally akin to YouTube, which makes it attractive to content creators. (Many young stars have have complained behind the scenes that Yahoo skews older and does not cater to their audience.) Finally, Facebook is a huge sharing community where videos and other content are shared back and forth with friends with the potential to go viral–a huge plus for YouTubers.
All of this is in Facebook’s favor as it pushes ahead with a plan that many have said is inevitable. As Mark Suster of Upfront Ventures told me during my reporting, “The advertising market for video is way too big for Facebook and Twitter to not take a share of it.
“In the future, when you open up a video on Facebook, instead of having a YouTube pre-roll ad, you’re going to have a Facebook pre-roll ad.”