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Facebook Eyeing Original Video Programming

26 Jun, 2017 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Facebook reportedly is in discussions with studios and talent agencies to create by late summer original episodic programming on par with Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video.

reported Facebook is looking to spend upwards of $3 million per episode for programming.

“We’re supporting a small group of partners and creators as they experiment with the kinds of shows you can build a community around — from sports to comedy to reality to gaming. We’re focused on episodic shows and helping all our partners understand what works across different verticals and topics,” Nick Grudin, VP of media partnerships, said in a statement.

The social networking behemoth is entering the original content market far in arrears of Netflix, Hulu and Amazon, which collectively are spending more than $10 billion on original fare — some of which has earned industry honors and viewers (i.e. “House of Cards,” “Orange Is the New Black,” "The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Casual,” “Escape the Night,” “Man in the High Castle” and “Transparent,” among others.

Apple just hired two content creators from Sony Pictures Television division for its much-speculated Apple TV reboot.

Like those SVOD services, Facebook has the requisite deep pockets ($8 billion in Q1 revenue) to pay content creators. It also has viewers. Lots of them. The platform had 1.13 billion active daily users in the second quarter of 2016, including 1 billion on mobile devices and 1.57 billion on a monthly basis. It is expected to reach 2 billion total users this quarter.

Facebook, like Google’s YouTube, has billions of daily video views — albeit for short-form content. More notably, 90% of Facebook videos are viewed without sound.

Facebook isn’t shy to spend on creative talent — reportedly $50 million on social media influencers and celebrities to promote Facebook Live videos. It paid Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps an undisclosed fee last summer during the Rio Olympics to announce his retirement on Facebook. That video has tracked 4 million views to date.

The Journal said Facebook would run ads (and share revenue) on 30-minutes episodes, in addition to sticking to the traditional weekly broadcast/streaming format. Netflix and Amazon typically release the entire season of an original show so viewers can watch multiple episodes (binge viewing) in one sitting.

About the Author: Erik Gruenwedel

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