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Facebook announced Thursday they have begun testing mid-roll video ads, akin to TV commercials, in a series of formats, that all have major implications for how the tech giant plans to expand into a TV-like business.

  • Facebook has begun testing ad breaks for videos longer than 90-seconds on their platform. The ads will also be available for video content on Facebook's Audience Network, which is an extension of eyeballs across other websites and apps.
  • Facebook also announced they are expanding ad breaks to more publishers on Facebook Live. Publishers can now take 20-second ad breaks with the click of a button after 4 minutes of being live. They can take additional ad breaks every five minutes.
  • Lastly, Facebook is testing ad breaks in their on-demand video tab that is aimed to house premium content.

Why it matters:

  • Facebook's looking more like TV: Testing mid-roll ads on its on-demand platform brings Facebook one-step closer to creating an in-app television-like experience, in which they hope to steal TV ad dollars. Facebook accounted a TV-like cable box top app earlier this month, which will likely be monetized the same way.
  • Publishers will finally get paid: For the first time, publishers will be able to take a cut from video ads. Facebook said last year that its users watch 100 million hours of video per day, with a large portion coming from publishers who previously couldn't monetize their content. Facebook announced earlier this year that it would cease paying publishers to create Facebook Live video, which has many publishers saying they may abandon the platform altogether, unless a new monetization plan was introduced.
  • Quality control for Facebook: This is part of Facebook's push to control the quality of their content. Mid-roll ads will also encourage publishers to create longer video (more than 90 seconds) and better videos. The ads will only be played after a viewer views a video for at least 20 seconds.

Go deeper

Capitol review panel recommends more police, mobile fencing

Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

A panel appointed by Congress to review security measures at the Capitol is recommending several changes, including mobile fencing and a bigger Capitol police force, to safeguard the area after a riotous mob breached the building on Jan. 6.

Why it matters: Law enforcement officials have warned there could be new plots to attack the area and target lawmakers, including during a speech President Biden is expected to give to a joint session of Congress.

Financial fallout from the Texas deep freeze

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Texas has thawed out after an Arctic freeze last month threw the state into a power crisis. But the financial turmoil from power grid shock is just starting to take shape.

Why it matters: In total, electricity companies are billions of dollars short on the post-storm payments they now owe to the state's grid operator. There's no clear path for how they will pay — something being watched closely across the country as extreme weather events become more common.

U.S. Chamber decides against political ban for Capitol insurrection

A pedestrian passes the U.S. Chamber of Commerce headquarters as it undergoes renovation. Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce revealed Friday it won't withhold political donations from lawmakers who simply voted against certifying the presidential election results and instead decide on a case-by-case basis.

Why it matters: The Chamber is the marquee entity representing businesses and their interests in Washington. Its memo, obtained exclusively by Axios, could set the tone for businesses debating how to handle their candidate and PAC spending following the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.