According to The New York Times, Facebook, which has 1.4 billion active users on its network, is in talks with “at least half a dozen” media houses, which include The New York Times, BuzzFeed, and National Geographic to publish content directly to its platform.
The idea behind Facebook’s move is that content published by publishers would load much quicker for users — especially on mobile — inside the platform of the social media’s platform than it would if users were to click on a link to an external website and wait until it loads.
“To make the proposal more appealing to publishers, Facebook has discussed ways for publishers to make money from advertising that would run alongside the content,” The New York Times report said.
Though, details of the deal are still scanty at the moment, publishers may be looking at Facebook’s huge user-base, which is currently put at 1.4 billion active users as a way of opening up their content to new audiences. Of course, it is no secret that billions of people check on their Facebook pages each day, which is a catch for content providers.
Recall that The New York Times actually broke the news of Facebook’s plans to host news towards the end of last year. In a video call put through to Facebook’s chief product officer, Chris Cox by The New York Times in October 2014, he was quoted to have said that:
“We are at the very beginning of a conversation and it’s very important that we get this right,” he said in a video call. “Because we play an increasingly important role in how people discover the news that they read every day, we feel a responsibility to work with publishers to come up with as good an experience as we can for consumers. And we want and need that to be a good experience for publishers as well.”
The New York Times however, points out that hosting content directly on Facebook would most likely lead to at least some lack of control for publishers. Revenues would need to be shared with Facebook, and data on their audiences would most likely be less rich than the analytics the publishers use on their platforms.
Facebook’s option might appeal more to smaller organizations with modest circulations compared to bigger ones like The New York Times, which requires registration and payment to access more than a particular number of articles every month.