TV Stations Monetizing Facebook Live

Why do stations do so many Facebook Live posts that don’t drive revenue or views to the station’s revenue platforms (air, apps or website)?

Yes, you can make money by being very focused with a Facebook revenue strategy.

Last month I moderated a webinar for Broadcasting & Cable talking about how stations are using Facebook to increase their company’s bottom line (not just Mark Zuckerberg’s bottom line). And the stations talked about how they make money by just selling what they already post on Facebook Live.

It’s amazingly simple. Let’s use last month’s hockey and NBA Playoffs as examples.

Many playoff market stations did pre- and post-game coverage on Facebook Live. You might have been one of them. How much money did you make? Chances are you didn’t even try to sell it. That’s lost money.

One station group has an established policy. Sell it. And they do – as sponsored coverage. They may add a graphic to the image or a graphic to the post, and they have the talent mention it in the coverage. It’s a simple, inexpensive ad that brings in some cash.

One station estimated that it exceeded hundreds of thousands of views from the live pre/post sports coverage on Facebook.  They created a CPM model with sales and usually pulled in a thousand bucks or so for each “Live” event.  They are hesitant to share specifics as they continue to figure out the model, but did say it’s critical to establish a sales plan in advance rather and not create it on the fly.

The bottom line? They made cash. Cash on a Facebook Live event they had already planned to post.

Just think if there were four play-off games, and you did pre- and post-coverage on Facebook, you could net several thousand dollars.

If your sports folks already do Facebook Lives for baseball and football for the season – college or NFL – why not monetize it? While it may not be significant compared to your TV budget, it does have impact on your digital revenue line.

Another station I talked to said it sponsors Facebook Live for breaking news coverage. Again, this station gets great traction on breaking coverage on FB Live, so now they monetize it.  They insert a graphic when the coverage originates from a control room, and they may insert a sponsored lower third banner.

For some stations, Facebook Live posts feature anchors conversing over dinner, or behind the scenes at their work desk preparing for the next newscast, or talking how they slept last night. Those can be good for imagery if the personalities are strong, but they’re not going to generate revenue.

Some stations say they do Facebook Live to build the brand. Fine, although it’s questionable whether there’s real value there. However, our research shows that specific Facebook content can drive users to watch your newscasts, but it must be done in a very tactical way.

Facebook Live posts focused on events like breaking news and sports can pull in some numbers.

Instead of just letting Facebook sell your users to increase their bottom line, there’s an opportunity for your station to make money, too.  For now.

Facebook is very fluid about its role in selling content and sponsorships. What they may allow today could be an issue tomorrow, so you need to make sure someone on your staff stays on top of the Facebook rules and polices.

If we can help leverage Facebook Live to boost your bottom line, just give us a shout:


About the Author:

Today developing an effective digital media strategy is critical for revenue growth and brand-building. Steve is working with station groups, website developers, content suppliers, and others to in three key areas: social media, web and mobile. In addition, Steve puts his extensive television news expertise to work for clients helping them develop and refine their on-air product. Steve has led news operations in markets across the country including Philadelphia, Atlanta, Hartford and Tampa. In addition, he has served as an executive at the corporate level for NBC Universal and Meredith Local Media leading strategic growth and digital content initiatives. Most recently, Steve was vice president of news at WTXF, FOX Philadelphia where he took all newscasts from a fourth place position to second or first. Steve has also served on several industry boards and is the winner of many awards including the Georgia AP Best Website Award and numerous Emmy awards.