March 21, 2018
Facebook wants to be the next home for online content creators, aiming to displace YouTube, Patreon and others with additions to its Creator app, which launched in November on iOS and will be available on Android soon. The social media giant is currently testing ways Creator users can make more money and connect with their fans. One such way would allow monthly subscribers to gain access to exclusive content from their favorite creators and allow them to earn fan badges similar to those used on Patreon.
According to TechCrunch, Facebook is also “starting a closed beta program where social media stars can work with it to build new features. It’s already cooked up new ones like a leaderboard for each creator’s most engaged fans who earn a special badge next to their comments, as well as a version of its Rights Manager tool for removing or taking over monetization of unofficial copies of their videos.”
The company plans to launch the program using 10 creators in the U.S. and U.K. next month. Fans will have the ability to subscribe for $4.99 a month, and Facebook won’t take a cut during the testing window. However, the App Store and Google Play Store will earn their 30 percent cuts, meaning that creators pocket $3.50 per month per subscriber.
“It seems that rather than letting creators set their own price points including a cheap $1 per month option like on Patreon where the average subscription is $12 and the startup takes a 5 percent cut, Facebook is aiming for simplicity of pricing at mid-tier point. However, it did mention custom pricing could come later,” according to TechCrunch.
Currently, Facebook allows for creators to monetize using “ad breaks and self-brokered sponsored content deals.” But that’s not enough for them to survive. Facebook hopes these new ideas will help creators generate more from their most passionate fans, who are likely to collectively generate more income than the creators would be able to earn through ads.
Additionally, Facebook now has a tool that “lets creators show off a portfolio of their content expertise and audience, and get connected to businesses to hammer out branded content and sponsorship deals,” adds TechCrunch.
Separately, Facebook also has “a direct, one-time $3 tipping feature it’s testing with game streamers,” which ties directly into another report from TechCrunch, that details Facebook’s new software development kit (SDK) that allows PC games to be streamed live with in-game rewards.
“The potential for viral growth and sales could convince tons of game developers to bake in Facebook’s new SDK, while players could use the simple broadcasting feature to reach a big audience — though one not as dedicated to gaming as on other platforms. Viewers might choose to watch on Facebook because they get rewarded there,” reports TechCrunch.
Facebook benefits from having users on the platform longer, serving them ads, and ideally, locking them into the platform for the long term. Facebook hopes to compete with live game streaming heavyweights like Twitch and YouTube by rapidly developing this corner of its business.