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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

39 mins ago - Health

First known U.S. case of the Omicron variant identified in California

PhotoL Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The first known U.S. case of the Omicron variant was detected in California, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed Wednesday.

Driving the news: The confirmed case was detected in a traveler returning from South Africa who was fully vaccinated and has mild symptoms, according to the CDC.

Supreme Court appears likely to roll back abortion rights

Abortion rights advocates and anti-abortion protesters demonstrate in front of the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 1. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Wednesday seemed likely to weaken abortion rights and perhaps to let states ban the procedure altogether.

The intrigue: The court seemed likely to throw out the framework established in Roe v. Wade, but it wasn't clear whether a majority of the justices were inclined to overturn the court's precedents entirely.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Updated 2 hours ago - Economy & Business

How to meme a painting

Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

How can a physical artwork become an NFT? One new company has just spent $12.9 million on a Banksy in an attempt to try out a new way of converting the real into the virtual.

Why it matters: The art market globally sees volume of about $60 billion per year, almost all of which is trade in physical objects. Art-world insiders including former Christie's c0-chair Loïc Gouzer are on the lookout for ways to monetize physical paintings without necessarily giving up physical ownership of them.