Last week saw two important developments at Facebook – reports that the company is in talks to pay news outlets up to $3m a year to licence content, as well as the news that it will test an ad-free, subscription-based, video-streaming service.

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Facebook representatives have approached executives at leading news organisations with a view to offering up to $3m annually for the right to license stories, headlines and article previews.

Among those said to be in early discussions are Disney-owned ABC News, Bloomberg, Dow Jones and The Washington Post, although it was unclear by the end of last week whether any of them have signed up to the three-year licensing offer.

Facebook declined to comment on the details of the Journal’s report, but confirmed to CNBC, CNN and other media that it plans to launch a news tab feature in the autumn. CEO Mark Zuckerberg first began talking about a news tab in a video he posted in April.

Meanwhile, separate reports revealed that Facebook plans to test the sale of subscriptions to VOD services in the US in a move seen, at least by Advertising Age, as a bid to take a larger portion of digital-viewing audiences from the likes of Amazon, Hulu, YouTube and Roku.

Initial partners include BritBox, a joint venture between the BBC and UK commercial broadcaster ITV, Tastemade Plus, CollegeHumor Dropout and MotorTrend On Demand.

Subscribers will pay between $2.99 and $6.99 a month, depending on the channel, and Facebook will process payments on behalf of its partners. A Wall Street Journal source added that the company is also expected to take a cut of the revenue.

“Video subscriptions on Facebook bring all of the social aspects of our platform together with the traditional [SVOD] experience,” Facebook said in a statement.

“Content that people want to subscribe to inherently has strong fan communities, and Facebook is the perfect place for these communities to come together to enjoy, discuss and watch that content.”

Sourced from Wall Street Journal, Facebook, Advertising Age; additional content by WARC staff