Facebook plans to test video ads at the start of Watch shows, according to advertisers who are familiar with the social network's strategy, exploring what would be a significant shift.
Facebook has long resisted the pre-roll format because of its reputation for annoying viewers who are trying to get to their desired content. For years, CEO Mark Zuckerberg even banned "pre-roll" from Facebook's advertising vernacular.
"We don't need to do pre-roll because our model is not one where you come to Facebook to watch one piece of content, you come to look at a feed," Zuckerberg said on a conference call with investors in late July.
But now it seems the time might be right to at least give them a try. Facebook this year introduced Facebook Watch, a would-be YouTube rival where publishers, TV studios and web celebrities create shows and try to make money through ad sales. The move was part of a broader war among digital platforms and publishers to win at video, where marketers will pay more than for other kinds of ads.
Facebook, which declined to comment for this story, is expected to begin studying how users respond to the new commercial experience in the coming weeks.