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Facebook might bring the worst thing about television to Facebook Live streams

Published Aug 2nd, 2016 6:45PM EDT

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It’s been nearly five years since the last time I paid for cable, and commercials are one of the main reasons I’ve stayed away. Unfortunately, commercials have followed me wherever I’ve gone — Hulu, YouTube, Twitch — and now, Facebook has confirmed to Ad Age that it’s beginning to test video ads in live broadcasts.

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“We’re running a small test where a group of publishers have the option to insert a short ad break in their Facebook Live videos,” Facebook said. Mark Zuckerberg made it clear early on that he didn’t like the idea of pre-roll ads, as he felt they ruined the viewing experience, but considering that fact that the network had starting paying celebrities to use the Facebook Live service, it appears that mid-roll ads were a necessary evil in order to provide some consistent revenue.

An agency executive tells Ad Age that the ads are only eligible to run after the broadcast has been live for at least five minutes, and even then, they can only last for a maximum of 15 seconds. It’s hard to know whether or not this will change when the ads actually roll out (providing they do roll out).

Although ads in live broadcasts seem like an inevitability, at least one agency opted out immediately “because there was no reporting on how well it does and you don’t have control over where the commercial shows up.”

So if someone if broadcasting something obscene or bizarre or distasteful, an agency can’t control whether or not their ads appear during the broadcast.

Again, there’s no confirmation on whether or not this will be a permanent feature of Facebook Live broadcasts, but it’s an option Facebook is exploring.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.