Facebook’s Original Streaming Content Is In the Works

June 28, 2017 - 2 minutes read

The San Francisco mobile app development community has long known about Facebook’s interest in launching streaming content, but until now details were scant. Plans to showcase original content at the F8 developers conference in April and the Cannes Lions advertising festival earlier this month fell through, leaving the tech industry to wonder if the social media giant had anything impressive up its sleeves. Now, a week after Apple announced it was hiring two of the Sony execs behind Breaking Bad to run its brand new video programming wing, reports are emerging that indicate Facebook is taking the plunge into streaming very seriously.

Facebook’s take on TV mixes the traditional with the kind of unconventional new media approach that mobile app developers expect from Mark Zuckerberg’s ever-growing platform. Part of Facebook’s streaming strategy is to create traditional half-hour TV shows with budgets up to $3 million per episode. The deep pockets suggest that Facebook is aiming for the kind of buzzworthy prestige programming that has made Netflix’s original content so inescapable. The other part of Facebook’s plan is to allow content creators from partners like Vox Media, BuzzFeed, and Group Nine Media to put up shorter shows running 10 minutes or less on the site. This material will not be Facebook exclusive.

Unlike Hulu and Netflix, it appears as if Facebook has no plans at this juncture to charge subscription fees, which means that revenues will come exclusively from ads. Facebook’s streaming unit will also differ from its main competitors in that it will be much more transparent with its production partners about viewer numbers. In an era when the platform has come under fire again and again for “offensive” content, it seems like Facebook wants to play it safe with its programming, staying away from hot-button political dramas and news programs or shows with nudity or excessive profanity. In place of more divisive material, the platform is looking to stream reality shows, comedies, and twisty addictive dramas. Looks like mobile app developers might have to clear their schedules for more couch time. Facebook’s new original streaming content is expected to debut starting later this summer.

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