Last week Facebook has signed a deal with Fox Sport to broadcast twelve Champions League matches in the U.S.A. and they acquired exclusive broadcasting rights for some of them. Mark Zuckerberg’s social network had already obtained sports rights: the platform had announced its partnership with Univision in February to broadcast forty-six matches of the top level of the Mexican football championship, while the next month they got American soccer with the Major League Soccer.
All these deals are part of Zuckerberg’s recent strategy, which might be summarized with “video first”, according to which Facebook must become the main landing place of this content. Here’s the green light to partnerships and video productions, not only those made by users.
The aim is to get the best from his users in terms of advertising monetization, and to do that, Zuckerberg must keep them for as long as possible by offering all that they look for: it was the same for newspapers and information, it will be the same for videos.
This is a race to gain people’s attention and time, in exchange for which people are offered a world of content, and many of them are free. Television audience, likes, followers, sold copies are just different ways to measure the same precious thing.
However, focusing on long videos which are not made by users means that Facebook could insert more ad and develop forms of premium advertising which would be paid more; this choice could decrease the risk of inappropriate content that could be more possible in private amateur videos: this was the reason that led some brands to block their ad for fear of being associated with images of violence or incitement to hatred.
This challenge concerns different online platforms such as YouTube or Netflix, but also traditional television and Twitter, which had started broadcasting sporting events in its platform. Right now, sport is the main content for Facebook, so much so that the Champions League Final between Juventus and Real Madrid was commented by 34 million users and has registered 94 million interactions, but every show (such as big concerts) will light up user sharing in the future.