Facebook wants to show more ads to people who watch its videos and start making money for the people who supply it with those videos.
Industry sources say the social network is going to start testing a new “mid-roll” ad format, which will give video publishers the chance to insert ads into their clips after people have watched them for at least 20 seconds.
For now, Facebook will sell the ads and share the revenue with publishers, giving them 55 percent of all sales. That’s the same split offered by YouTube, which dominates the online video ad business.
If the new ads take off, they could represent the first chance many video publishers have had to make real money from the stuff they’ve been running on Facebook.
Facebook began moving aggressively to show videos to its users a couple of years ago, and by 2016 said those users were watching 100 million hours per day. But unlike almost everyone else in the ad business, CEO Mark Zuckerberg has forbidden “pre-roll” video ads, which run before a clip starts.
That means that most publishers have seen little or no ad revenue from the clips they show on Facebook, even though many are spending considerable resources trying to build up a video presence there. That stance has also discouraged some Facebook publishers, like sports leagues, from putting valuable content on the network.