Facebook is pulling no punches in the fight for video playback supremacy. It already signed deals with companies like Buzzfeed and the New York Times as well as celebrities like Kevin Hart and Michael Phelps to produce original content for Facebook Live. Now it’s going for those most familiar with the Internet, Internet Celebrities. That’s right, YouTubers and Viners are now coming to Facebook Live and they’re getting paid up to $24,000 a video!
Ray William Johnson (star of the once insanely popular YouTube show “=3”) is pulling in the most money out of this deal ($224,000 for six months of work) followed by Viner, Jon Paul Piques who is making $119,000 for five videos over two months. Facebook was already stealing video views from YouTube, now it’s stealing the actual content creators. The reason for this is clear if you delve a little deeper in to what watching videos on Facebook is like. Be honest with yourself, you don’t really tap on any videos when you scroll through your newsfeed. You just let autoplay run through them and if you find it interesting, you watch it on mute. Now a video view is counted once three seconds pass in a video. That means that even if Facebook racks up billions of video views a day, it’s cheating, but not technically. Either way, retention is terrible. So lo and behold, Facebook wants to be known for original stuff.
Facebook is also capitalizing on the fact that Viners don’t get paid much from Twitter which is busy signing deals with the NFL, CBS and the NBA for professional video content. Facebook’s allure can reel a lot of Viners in.
Internet famous may not be the same thing as Hollywood famous just yet but the tide is turning. YouTuber Lily Singh (known as ||SUPERWOMAN||) has appeared on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon. Also, a bunch of YouTubers like the Vlog Brothers (Hank and John Green) and JusReign recently appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live! for the Mean Tweets segment.
These guys make serious bank. Swedish YouTuber PewDiePie, who has the most subscribers out of anyone on the site, made $12 million before taxes in 2015; that’s almost as much as Chris Pratt made ($13 million). The difference is Chris Pratt worked in Guardians of the Galaxy and PewDiePie records himself playing and reacting to videogames. Smosh (Anthony Padilla and Ian Hecox), who basically deal in funny sketches and musical parodies, pulled $8.5 million in 2015 and theatrically released an eponymous movie in 2015. The Fine Brothers, who run a series of channels featuring people of all ages (Kids, Teens, Adults, Elders etc.) reacting to games, movies, songs, trends and fads, also pulled in $8.5 million. Forbes’ list of 13 highest paid YouTubers brought the total of their earnings to $54.5 million. Granted that Jennifer Lawrence makes that in a year, but she’s the most popular actress in the world. Oh, and she also appeared in a Smosh video for an interview along with Liam Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson.
The way things are going, it’s not inconceivable that Hollywood’s fame will concede to that of the Internet.