Whatever Facebook wants, Facebook gets. And Facebook made it clear earlier this year that it wants live video. The social network gave Facebook Live prominence in its app and promoted it heavily online. It has even gone so far as to pay media companies and celebrities millions of dollars to create live-streaming content.
Publishers have only been too happy to oblige despite any clear path to monetization. And U.K. media is no exception.
According to data from analytics firm SocialBakers, in June there were 533 live videos posted by the U.K.’s top 100 media pages, a 72 percent increase from the number of live videos posted in May (310 live videos).
Facebook Live’s ability to let viewers direct the footage through the comments, plus the thrill of the live action, has drawn in big audiences. The social network’s prioritizing of live video has also pushed it to the top of the list for many media companies.
Here’s how the U.K.’s six most prolific Facebook Live publishers, according to SocialBakers data, used the format last month. Spoiler: It involves football.
1. Daily Mail
The Daily Mail has been posting live videos in earnest for the last three months. In June, its 68 live videos saw 117,000 interactions (shares, comments and likes). Much of the time they take the form of two Mail journalists chatting in the London office about everything from the missing EgyptAir plane to celebrity style. Occasionally there are appearances by the celebs themselves: Reality star Oliver Proudlock and presenter and former model Katie Piper both popped by this month. In the U.S. the action is a bit more dynamic, including fashion and beauty shoots, food tips and news of the day, plus rosé talk with The Fat Jew.
With 4.7 million Facebook fans to its page, the number of interactions could be higher; rarely do the views get to the 80,000 views mark, although this 15 minute interview with a Saudi billionaire from the end of April fetched 105,000 views.
2. Sky News
Live video became a mainstay of Sky News’s arsenal in April. It broadcast 62 live videos in June, only a couple less than the Daily Mail, but saw more engagement with 144,000 interactions across the videos.
Richard Evans, head of social media and digital partnerships at Sky News, explains the social media team has grown from three to eight people in a year, and it wants to increase the production value of its Live videos. “We want to keep a certain level of accessibility and get our journalists in front of our fans within seconds of a story, if not instantly,” he said.
Sky News is using Facebook Live as often as it can, filming at protests, reporting from press conferences, outside football stadiums, interviewing politicians and integrating reader comments. An interview with Jamie Oliver has gained over 450,000 views, tipping the scale, while others are mostly getting under 80,000 views.
3. Reuters UK
In June Reuters UK posted 48 Facebook Live videos which gained 22,000 interactions. Prior to that, the publisher had done just four Facebook Live videos. Now each day a couple of its journalists from the London office post a 10 minute roundup of the global markets news.
Britain’s vote to exit the European Union has opened up more opportunities for live content; other footage includes broadcasts from Brussels correspondent Alastair Macdonald, and editor-at-large, Axel Threlfall, making use of the minds at Reuters while getting viewers to submit questions. On average the videos are receiving around 10,000 views.
4. Yahoo Sport UK
Yahoo Sport UK is another publisher that ramped up Facebook Live broadcasts in the past month. It had previously only streamed nine videos live, last month it pushed out 44, which earned it 23,000 interactions.
James Dickens, head of sport at Yahoo UK, explains the media company’s access to events bring fans close to the heart of the action. “It works really well when you give insight that users can’t get via traditional mediums, adding an exciting dimension. The users feel empowered to drive and influence the content.”
The videos are a mix of reporters debriefing on major sporting fixtures, talking heads, capturing the atmosphere ahead of football games and talking to fans. Yahoo Sport UK’s live videos only get about 8,000 views, though. Because Facebook favors live video in the news feed, many publishers find this format outperforms their regular videos. That’s not always the case for Yahoo, where pre-recorded animated regulars like The Social Minute, (a daily video of funny, topical football clips) or the Ten Most Valuable Players in the World are getting 40,000 views.
5. Motorcycle News
The Bauer title has just 700,000 Facebook fans, but they are on board with its Facebook Live content. The publisher started posting Live videos in June, posting 41 in total which gained it 60,000 interactions from fans. Top performers are up close and personal with Harley Davidson bikes (140,000 views) and in the pit with Grand Prix motorbike legends (80,000). Video on Motorcycle News is almost exclusively live and includes races, track days and the odd press conference.
6. The Sun Football
The Sun’s football coverage is what attracts many of its readers. The News UK title has numerous Facebook pages across different topics, but its Football page is the most popular (2.4 million fans to the Sun’s 2.3 million).
In June The Sun Football posted 24 live videos and gained 30,000 interactions, and is part of News UK’s wider push to broadcast 25 live videos a week across all its titles. Using its parent company’s video equipment, it can get the slick studio-feel of TV broadcast, and posts live videos of journalists discussing the action of the day. It also features footage of football fans in Marseille and Q&A’s with former England footballer Emile Heskey. The point has been made before, anything you get half right with football will always fly.