- Facebook announced two new original video series: “Returning the Favor” hosted by Mike Rowe of “Dirty Jobs” fame and a docuseries that hasn’t been titled yet about the Ball basketball family, including controversial patriarch LaVar and sons Lonzo, Liangelo and LaMelo per Deadline Hollywood. Lonzo Ball was picked second by the LA Lakers in the recently held NBA draft.
- Facebook has been ramping up its push into premium, TV-like video content for some time and has been working to find creators and partners who can produce shows that will build online communities, according to Nick Grudin, VP Media Partnerships, Facebook, as quoted in the Deadline report.
- Facebook has also been testing Audience Direct, a self-service tool that allows publishers to sell video inventory directly to advertisers via Facebook’s people-based ad platform. Deadline pointed out the two newly announced series demonstrate the type of content Facebook thinks will succeed in this model.
In May, Facebook announced signing millennial-friendly publishers including Vox Media, BuzzFeed, ATTN and Group Nine Media to produce original programming for its premium video service. The service itself will include two tiers with scripted shows 25 to 30 minutes long owned by Facebook and creators getting $250,000 per episode from the tech giant. Shorter unscripted shows of five to 10 minutes long won't be owned by Facebook but will earn creators $10,000 to $35,000 per episode along with 55% of ad revenue from mid-roll ad breaks. The Deadline report didn’t include length or number of episodes for the two newly announced shows.
Facebook is one of a number of digital platforms looking to capitlize on the growing trend of viewers breaking with traditional TV to access streaming content whenever and wherever they want. The list of platforms going after these consumers also includes Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, which are obvious competitors to broadcast and cable TV, as well as entrenched video platform YouTube. Even less obvious platforms are eyeing original content like social media app Snapchat. For its part, Facebook has been emphasizing video on its platform for some time and even released a set-top box app that puts its video content on TV screens.