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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Instagram is mulling plans to pay publishers on its platform as it grows as a news and information source for users, sources tell Axios. 

Why it matters: Publishers are frustrated that prior monetization talks have been tabled from the second half of this year to an unknown date. 

Driving the news: Instagram plans to include select publishers in its next test in coming months for paying creators, sources say.

  • The company is still mulling a plan to create a revenue share program with publishers for IGTV ads, but it's moving slower than initially anticipated.
  • In the interim, it's beginning to experiment with opportunities to pay publishers to make content. The app has brokered some select partnerships with publishers in one-off cases where content is paid for.
  • Instagram and Buzzfeed last week announced the launch of a new IGTV social series called “BuzzFeed’s Show Off," that Instagram is helping to fund. 
  • Axios reported ahead of the election that Instagram paid ATTN: to create GOTV videos and content for the app.
  • Other publishers have carve-outs for Instagram written into their contracts with Instagram parent Facebook, sources tell Axios.

Sources say Instagram is being cautious about how it rolls monetization out for publishers, given that it's still trying to figure out how to share revenue with creators writ large.

  • In the past, publishers have complained about being bait and switched by Facebook via rushed deals. Instagram wants to avoid that headache.
  • To date, most creators make money on Instagram by hawking or selling their own products or products from brands, as opposed to doing revenue splits with Instagram or being paid by Instagram to create content. 
  • The company is currently testing ad revenue splits for creators, giving creators a 55% share of ad revenue created from their videos on IGTV.
  • It's also testing the roll-out of badges that creators can sell to fans to have their comments appear higher within Instagram Live.

Be smart: Instagram doesn't have a separate News tab where it would place licensed news content. The closest destination it has would be IGTV, akin to Facebook's Watch Tab, where Facebook does pay select publishers to make content.

  • Instagram debuted an updated layout last week that increases the visibility of and its shopping tab and Reels, its TikTok rival.

The big picture: Instagram has separate teams that work with publishers on rolling out new tools and optimizing content. Those teams for now mostly focus on how publishers can build an audience on Instagram, instead of monetization. 

Go deeper

Jan 29, 2021 - Technology

Facebook developing a tool to help advertisers avoid bad news

Photo Illustration: Avishek Das/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Facebook on Friday said it's testing new advertiser "topic exclusion controls" to help address concerns marketers may have that their ads are appearing next to topics in Facebook's News Feed that they consider bad for their brand.  

Why it matters: As Axios has previously noted, the chaotic nature of the modern news cycle and digital advertising landscape has made it nearly impossible for brands to run ads against quality content in an automated fashion without encountering bad content.

FAA clears more planes after 5G fears

Photo: David McNew/Getty Images

The Federal Aviation Administration said Thursday it had approved nearly 80% of the U.S. commercial fleet to perform low-visibility landings at airports with new 5G services after fears of signal interference limited 5G rollout.

Why it matters: The FAA approvals will help provide more certainty after the agency raised fears that 5G signals could reduce the accuracy of certain equipment, known as radio altimeters, that helps planes land and take off in inclement weather.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Peloton stock tanks on report of production halt

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Peloton stock fell by as much as 25% on Thursday, following a CNBC report that the connected fitness company will temporarily halt production on its bikes and treadmills.

Why it matters: Peloton is viewed by many as a proxy for consumer behavior in the pandemic era, as its popularity surged when gyms closed and people wanted to exercise at home.