Facebook and Google are no longer the enemy, but publishers still need to tread carefully say marketers

Publishers should be wary that with a click of a button, “everything we’ve worked towards could change” as they struggle with monetizing Facebook Live, Universal Pictures’ Suzanne Stretton-Brown has told an audience of marketers.

Speaking at Mumbrella’s Entertainment Marketing Summit, Stretton-Brown, director of marketing at Universal Pictures International Australia asked: “As we all start investing in this channel more and more, what happens when Facebook decides that they’re going to add some sort of revenue stream?”

“As a marketer I can invest a lot it in, and we will – it’s a great way to talk to our audience – but I’m very mindful that Facebook just has to make a decision and everything we’ve worked towards could change.”

Nick Smith, prestige and lifestyle director, News Corp Australia said that although Facebook might often seem like the “evil enemy”, they’re actually very supportive of live video.

Smith: Google and Facebook not the evil enemy they once were

“Sometimes we get hung up on the fact that Facebook’s going to change their algorithm and they’re working against us,” he said.

“Don’t be scared to get your media agency or go and have a direct conversation with Facebook, because in some ways they’re actually really supportive of making Facebook Live and events in the virtual world really resonate on their platform.”

Smith also alluded to News Corp’s dislike of Google’s First Click Free policy, which had the potential to wipe out a significant chunk of revenue for publishers.

“We’ve got over the gripe that Google and Facebook are the evil enemy. I guess News Corp’s held the most vocal against opposition. Two years ago we were saying ‘they’re taking our revenue’, ‘they’re taking our audience’, and we were quite combative.

“In the end we actually won the change on Google for first click. Our subscriptions to our newspapers are increasing because they’ve removed that, so it was a battle worth having.”

Back to Facebook, Smith explains how monetisation is one of the biggest struggles for publishers.

“Facebook are putting the consumer first. Consumers are loving video and visual and they don’t want to move to too many platforms, so in that respect, firstly Facebook’s given us a great referral mechanism to send people to our site.

“For Vogue and GQ something like 33% of our traffic does come from social referrals, so it’s very important that we do work with them.

“The other challenge, and something that we’re going to have to work at, is if we’re delivering exclusive content to live and breathe on someone else’s platform, our challenge is how do we actually monetise that?”

Pointing to sponsored events which are then amplified on Facebook Live, Smith concluded: “Often for us, the monetisation is done before that content arrives on that particular platform.”


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