Facebook Signs Deals With Celebrities

Facebook Signs Deals With Celebrities and Media Companies.

Gordon Ramsay, shown at a West Hollywood, Calif., event in February, is one of the… Facebook Inc. FB 0.67 % is paying an array of media companies and celebrities to create videos for its live-streaming service and has signed nearly 140 contracts totaling more than $50 million, according to a document reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. The social network’s partners vary widely. It includes established media outfits like CNN and the New York […]

The social network’s partners vary widely. It includes established media outfits like CNN and the New York Times NYT -0.75 % ; digital publishers like Vox, Tastemade, Mashable and the Huffington Post; and celebrities including Kevin Hart, Gordon Ramsay, Deepak Chopra and NFL quarterback Russell Wilson.

The value of individual contracts varies widely, with 17 worth more than $1 million, according to the document. The document isn’t a comprehensive accounting of all of Facebook’s dealings with video creators, but it shows the broad scope of the tech giant’s efforts to promote its nascent Facebook Live product.

“We wanted to invite a broad set of partners so we could get feedback from a variety of different organizations about what works and what doesn’t,” Justin Osofsky, Facebook’s vice president of global operations and media partnerships, said in a statement.

Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg is betting big on live videos to encourage the social network’s 1.65 billion monthly users to keep checking the service. The company still is determining how it will monetize the video service through ads. Encouraging publishers to produce a steady stream of high quality content is seen as a way to help get the initiative off the ground.

Most publishers—traditional and digital—already are pouring resources into online video to capture the attention of their audiences and grab high advertising prices.

Facebook is a major driver of traffic to their properties. Becoming one of its live-streaming partners in the early going will give their videos enormous exposure, and could be lucrative once selling ads in the platform is allowed.

The highest-paid publisher on the document reviewed by the Journal is BuzzFeed, slated to receive $3.05 million for broadcasting live between March 2016 and March 2017. Just behind BuzzFeed is the New York Times, which is to receive $3.03 million for a 12-month deal. CNN is third, with a $2.5 million contract. London Live Streaming Company

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