Facebook starts selling video subscriptions


8, 2019

Facebook’s ambitions to be a media player were clear with Facebook and Instagram TV, and now they’ve gotten even stronger with the firm’s new move of selling subscriptions directly to users.

Facebook is launching a small-scale test, allowing users to pay to subscribe to four services: BBC and ITV’s aggregation service; BritBox, College Humor, MotorTred app and TasteMade Plus. The firm has also reached out to several other TV channels, but only these four are being trialled for now.

“We’re testing video subscriptions on Facebook, starting with a limited set of partners,” a Facebook rep told Variety, “We’re excited to bring more of people’s favourite shows and videos to Facebook, where subscribers can enjoy the content together with other fans. We’ll be listening to feedback from our community.”

This test will be available only in the US for now, and users will pay Facebook directly for the content. Like Apple and Google, Facebook will take a small cut of the payments and transfer the rest to the media publishers.

“Part of the theory behind Facebook’s SVOD test is that subscription services with strong fan communities will be able to take advantage of social features to drive engagement,” Variety reported, “Subscribers will be able to join discussion groups to talk about recent episodes and participate in Facebook’s Watch Parties, which let multiple users watch videos concurrently and chat in real-time.”

The test will be rolling out to users within the next few weeks.

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