Facebook , long challenged by doubts over its ability to raise advertising revenue, may be about to deliver a killer punch. Video ads are on the way for the social network in the first half of next year, according to a report in the US magazine AdAge.
The magazine says it is the largest attempt yet by the social network to attract "big swaths of ad dollars "from TV advertisers.
If successful, the Facebook move could potentially suck millions from the bottom line of TV networks. The big question is how the Facebook faithful will react to effectively having TV commercials shoved down their throat .
The AdAge report cites several industry executives said to have been briefed on the company's plans over the past few weeks.
These executives said that by April at the latest, Facebook will offer advertisers the chance to target video ads to large numbers of Facebook users in their news feeds on the desktop version of Facebook, as well as on Facebook apps on mobile phones and tablets.
AdAge said Facebook was thinking of making these video ads a maximum of 15 seconds -- "a move that could push ad agencies normally reluctant to cut down their 30-second commercials to do so."
That decision could also mean that 15-second video ads would become more prevalent elsewhere on the web.
One move sure to be controversial said AdAge was that the visual part of the Facebook video ads would start playing automatically -- known as "autoplay" -- according to two of the executives. Facebook was still debating whether to have the audio activated automatically as well, one of these people said.
One interviewee told AdAge there could be "serious outrage" among Facebook users over the ads .
The magazine asked Facebook about the video-ad plans but Facebook declined to comment.