Facebook’s Version of YouTube Takes Shape With Pranksters, Magicians and Cartoons

A 20-something magician performing on the streets of Thailand and Jamaica. Three Australian brothers who shock bystanders with devious pranks. A conservative commentator in Mississippi who rants about America’s priorities from his car.

These are some of the video makers who in recent months have started making serious money from Facebook Watch, the tech giant’s answer to YouTube. Julius Dein, the magician, said his videos had attracted revenue in the “six figures” since July, when he became able to run ads on them. The prankster brothers, known as the Jalals, said they had earned more than $500,000 since August.

While Facebook grapples with growing regulatory scrutiny and a string of crises around data misuse on its platform, its ambitious growth plans have not slowed. The company’s revenue, which now tops $40 billion a year, has increased by more than 30 percent every quarter since it went public in 2012. The tech giant has acknowledged that growth will slow over the next few years. So siphoning some of the more than $60 billion in advertising money that’s now directed toward TV and bringing it to Watch has become a central goal.

But creating a space that can attract that money has been a challenge for Facebook. Since beginning Watch in August 2017, the company had limited the number of pages that could run video ads to a tightly curated set of entities, including well-known publishers, TV networks and celebrities like Jada Pinkett Smith and Tom Brady.

That has now changed. At the end of August, Facebook started to allow more pages to

Keep reading this article on The New York Times Media & Advertising.