Another feature being implemented by Facebook, alongside Messenger Rooms as announced earlier this week, is the option for creators to earn money by hosting live videos on their Facebook pages. This means that viewers will be charged some amount of money before they can tune in to the live videos.
To support creators and small businesses, we plan to add the ability for Pages to charge for access to events with Live videos on Facebook – anything from online performances to classes to professional conferences. - Facebook
In the past few weeks, several activities that would usually require physical interaction, from classes to music concerts, have compulsorily been moved to online platforms especially Facebook and Instagram (also owned by Facebook). Due to the coronavirus lock-down in most countries, live videos have become one of the most used media through which individuals have been able to keep in touch with, educate, and/or entertain members of the public.
International Labour Congress predicted that about 25 million jobs could be lost worldwide due to the pandemic. This is partly as a result of companies trying to stay afloat by letting go of some, if not all, of their employees.
Being able to monetize live videos, especially on platforms with large audiences could, to an extent, satisfy the urgent financial needs of a lot of businesses and individuals.
YouTube had rolled out a similar feature earlier in 2018, enabling creators to earn money while connecting with their audience through channel memberships. Viewers pay a monthly recurring fee of $4.99, creators receive 70% of membership revenue after applicable fees have been deducted, and YouTube gets the remaining 30%. In order to qualify, however, a channel must have more than 30,000 subscribers (1,000 subscribers for Gaming Channels). Gathering that number of subscribers could be quite difficult to achieve in a short period of time, and people need immediate solutions to their financial problems in this ongoing pandemic.
It is not clear yet if similar restrictions will be put in place whenever the Facebook paid live videos are enabled. There are no details as to who qualifies for it, or how much can be charged per person and what percentage will go to Facebook. An official date is also yet to be announced.