Facebook just sliced off another piece of TV's advertising pie. It has signed a deal with the NFL to let advertisers sponsor highlight clips from games that will run in your news feed, according to the Wall Street Journal. The deal looks a little bit like Twitter's Amplify programme, which does pretty much the same thing. Both platforms let the media producers of sports (or any other video highlight content) put clips into your news feed, and they share revenue with the advertisers who sponsor them.
The news should send a chill through TV ad sales departments this Christmas. For the past two years, Facebook has been rolling out more and more video products, and comparing its reach directly to that of primetime TV. Facebook's ad revenues are in the billions of dollars, so it needs to gain ad budgets on that scale—and that means competing directly with TV, the most expensive media in which to buy ads.
In the new NFL deal, the initial sponsor will be Verizon Wireless. A Facebook spokesperson described the deal as a test.
Video "tests" have gone well at Facebook, of late. More people on Facebook upload video directly to Facebook than they did via sharing from YouTube. Facebook is displacing YouTube on one of the web's major platforms, in other words. There is also anecdotal evidence that advertisers are cutting their TV budgets in order to spend more online and with Facebook.
With NFL highlights now available on Facebook in a revenue generating format, that's one more reason for viewers to skip the live games and just catch up later on their phones.
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