It looks like Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) wants to be more than a place for you to post your latest pictures and status updates.
In case you haven’t noticed, there are probably a lot more videos that clog up your Facebook timeline than a year or two ago. This is part of Facebook’s plan to make a big push into the world of video. As part of this push, Facebook rolled out its “Facebook Live” last summer that, so far, only lets celebrities like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson broadcast live-streaming videos onto users’ feeds. But what you may notice next on your newsfeed may be really big for FB stock.
Dan Rose, Facebook’s vice president of partnerships, confirmed on Monday that the social media giant is in discussions with the National Football League (NFL) about securing the rights to live-stream games. (Source: “Facebook Exec Clears the Air Over NFL, Celeb Deal Talks for Live-Stream Push,” Variety, March 7, 2016.)
This makes sense for Facebook, which has become a digital water cooler. It is the place online where people go to check out what’s happening right now, and broadcasting live NFL games would touch on this.
Beyond the live game broadcasts, Rose said that Facebook would also be interested in offering up additional content before or after games in the locker room, behind the scenes, or on the field itself. (Source: Ibid.)
In the digital world, there are endless opportunities to explore. Heck, in the next few years, we could be watching NFL games through our “Oculus VR” headset, “sitting” next to all our Facebook friends.
But, of course, Facebook isn’t bidding for NFL streaming rights just to enhance our experience with the site. Facebook wants us to spend more time on the site, increasing the potential to serve up more advertising. Live video is the perfect way to do that. According to Rose, Facebook users watch live broadcasts three times longer than recorded video. (Source: Ibid.)
Facebook is also building up a list of celebrities using Facebook Live by initially offering to pay talent to commit to regular broadcasts in an effort to build content. Rose said that the company is not offering huge sums of money and that the amount will be based on how much time each celebrity is willing to commit.
Rose said that longer-term, Facebook will enter into revenue-sharing agreements with celebrities and media partners that stream on Facebook Live, either through in-video ads or some other form of monetization. (Source: Ibid.)
The Bottom Line on Facebook Stock
Facebook estimates that is has about 650 million users worldwide who are sports fans. (Source: “Why Facebook Wants NFL’s Thursday Night Football Live Games,” Variety, March 4, 2016.) If the company is successful in landing the NFL and if it monetizes even a small percentage of that fan base, look for FB stock to soar.