Facebook is asking for pitches for “TV-like” original shows, and it’s willing to pay for them, according to The Wall Street Journal.
What does a Facebook show look like?
Facebook is focusing on weekly shows, “with episodes lasting up to 30 minutes,” according to The Journal. This could span many genres, from sports to science to gaming — but no hard news.
A source told the Journal that Facebook will offer a “premium digital rate” for scripted shows, “roughly low- to mid-six figures per episode,” much less than marquee outlets like Netflix or traditional TV.
“Our focus is on kickstarting the ecosystem here,” Facebook CFO David Wehner said last month. To the extent that Facebook would licence shows, it would be to seed the ecosystem.
The future of Facebook video
Last month, when Mark Zuckerberg laid out his vision for the future of Facebook video, he seemed to be copying YouTube’s battle plan.
Zuckerberg said that, despite chatter about longer videos, short-form video — and sharing ad revenue with creators — would still be the focus for Facebook.
This focus on short-form video distances Facebook from the likes of Netflix, HBO, and cable TV. But Zuckerberg did say he thought there was a big future for “premium” video on Facebook, which signals he is eyeing the large pool of money dedicated to advertising on TV. Now this Journal report suggests Facebook is willing to spend money to attract longer shows that sit somewhere in between the amateur creator, and the high budgets of TV.
It’s a space YouTube has tried to navigate as well, both with things like its preferred advertising program, and buying shows for its premium tier, YouTube Red.
Still, so far TV ad budgets have been slow to make their way onto digital platforms. But some, including recently public Snap, Snapchat’s parent company, are betting that process will accelerate.
Facebook, YouTube, and Snapchat want to be ready to grab some of the $US200 billion global TV ad budget if it does.