« Back to Posts

Facebook spending millions programming itself into live TV

The following is our weekly live video newsletter, which publishers on Mondays. Want to subscribe? Click here.


Whether you’re a brand, influencer or just a regular gal or guy sharing your thoughts, an app specific for live video is soon coming to a mobile device near you. Facebook will introduce a standalone video app for creators, which should make it even easier to broadcast live. (Is this tied to their programming initiative? Must be, right? More on that later…)

NASA wants you to watch the upcoming solar eclipse (a once-every-90-years event), and they’re giving out every tip possible to make sure you do so safely (and maybe via livestream). If eclipses aren’t your bag, you can always watch KFC launch a chicken sandwich into space instead (seriously).

While live sports are in the crosshairs of cordcutters, one service wants to cater exclusively to those that will watch sports all day. No, fuboTV isn’t new, but it’s everything the sports-only (they do exist) fan in your life wants out of television. Being the only truly bankable live audience left also gives these viewers — and fuboTV — a little extra leverage as the future of live TV unfolds.

YouTube TV may not be competing with cable just yet, but it only needs a little push to leave legacy cable providers behind. Given the site’s large audience footprint already, peeling off just a tiny bit of those would make for some marketshare dominance. Brands are already ID’ing opportunities to jump into non-traditional live video around the web. Perhaps YouTube TV becomes its next big bet.


Twitch’s latest live TV marathon started on Monday, as it’ll stream the first 10 seasons of Mystery Science Theater 3000, capitalizing on the show’s renewed popularity on Netflix. It’s no surprise they’re revisiting the live video well after big successes with other shows (Power Rangers, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, etc.). Tying into big external events also keeps Twitch top-of-mind, and helps expand the potential streaming audience there.

As mentioned, Facebook’s video programming is about to change, and they’ll spend a pretty penny to do it. Short-form shows will be taking home a minimum of $5,000-$20,000 per episode, while bigger shows could hit $3 million per. It’s a big bet, but one that could potentially make up a lot of ground very quickly in the expanding war for live viewers.

Sweety High, focused on content for teen girls, has been utilizing Live.ly to grow its audience — its CEO discussed how live content’s attracted branded opportunities, too.

The number of live aftershows are growing by the week, as TV Land’s Younger joins the fray on Facebook. Not an aftershow: SB Nation, continuing parent company Vox’s video push, will bring its popular MMA Hour to Twitter. NBC’s also the latest to sign onto live eSports broadcasting, as they’ll be the home of the $100,000 Rocket League Tournament.

Not all’s well in the world of live, though. China’s cracked down on live-streaming, and recently moved to shut down Weibo, which boasts huge audience numbers as the country’s become fixated on live video content. It’s no sign of things to come in more democratic countries — or at least, it shouldn’t be.

This week’s top headlines:

Facebook is Ready to Drop up to $3 Million an Episode on TV-Style Shows
Business Insider, Nathan McAlone

Twitch is Launching a ‘MST3K’ Marathon, and it’s Bold
Mashable, Laura Prudom

A Stand-Alone App for Creators of Facebook Live Videos is On its Way
Adweek, David Cohen

Sweety High CEO on Using Live.ly to Woo Gen Z
Kidscreen, Alexandra Whyte

Periscope’s New ‘Super Hearts’ Let You Pay Broadcasters — But How Much?
Fast Company, Emily Price

A Peek into the Next Live Video Social Networking Platform
The American Genius, Jennifer Walpole

Meet fuboTV, the Streaming Service for Sports Fanatics
Forbes, Madeline Berg

NASA Goes All-Out With Live-Streaming for This Summer’s Total Eclipse
Engadget, Jon Fingas

China Orders Weibo to Stop Live Video Streaming Services
The Drum, Danielle Long

KFC is Sending a Chicken Sandwich to the Edge of Space — Here’s How to Watch it Live
The Daily Dot, Phillip Tracy

SB Nation’s Ariel Helwani-Hosted the MMA Hour Will Stream Live on Twitter
Awful Announcing, Andrew Bucholtz

NBC to Broadcast $100,000 Rocket League Tournament
DOT Esports, Callum Leslie

There’s a Surprise ‘Rick and Morty’ Live Stream on Thursday
Inverse, James Grebey

YouTube TV Just Needs a Fraction of Overall YouTube Viewers to Crush Cable
The Street, Leon Lazaroff

TV Land to Launch Live Digital Younger Facebook Aftershow Following S4 Debut
Broadway World, Staff