The Wall Street Journal reports that Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) plans on paying the only ¼ of the publishers contributing to its soon to be released news feature “News Tab”.
In August this year, Facebook announced its intentions to feature a separate tab for news articles and headlines on the Facebook app as well as its desktop version. The feature was lined up to go live sometime in fall. Sources reported that the company was willing to make deals worth as much as $3 million per annum to obtain licensing to feature articles from leading publishers including big names such as The Washington Post, The New York Times, and Bloomberg.
The decision to pay publishers was a sharp contrast to its competitor Google News which has been criticized for not paying the publishers that register to have their content displayed on the service.
However, on Monday, along with confirmation of Facebook News Tab’s launch this October, it was found out that only a part of the contributing publishers will get paid by Facebook.
According to the Wall Street Journal, an estimated 200 publishers will be featured on the Facebook news section, but only a small chunk of them will be paid for lending their content. National news publications will get paid up to $3 million whereas, regional publishers will receive a licensing fee of several hundred thousand dollars.
According to Facebook, the decision to pay only a fraction of its publishers is to ensure “a steady volume of fact-based and original content.”
Facebook News: A change in currents
The social media behemoth has expressed its dedication to bringing reliable and trustworthy news to its users. This initiative can potentially clear its reputation for being an agent of fake news circulation. To make certain of this, Facebook has collaborated with various well-seasoned journalists that will work with the company to control the quality of the news featured on the News Tab. Thus, the News Tab will be tailored to each user’s preferences but the pieces will be authentic and bonafide.
People with insider knowledge about the full range of plans regarding News Tab have also disclosed that having one’s article appeared in the news section would increase web traffic to the publisher’s website. This is because the full article won’t be displayed on the app; instead, a headline that will redirect the reader to the publisher’s website will appear.
This choice reflects a departure from the framework Facebook’s failed Instant Articles followed, which allowed users to read news articles in the app itself, without having to wait for it to load on a redirected address. This variation on access to pieces will potentially benefit Facebook in the long run as it stands as a viable competitor against Apple News that pulls in a publisher’s articles onto the app itself and takes half of the revenue generated from the content they’re borrowing.
As of now, nothing can be said of how News Tab fares in the coming weeks. Whether it’ll be able to hold its ground and make a name for itself depends on how the feature is ultimately executed, but the prospects seem promising.