- Facebook, the social network with more than 2 billion users worldwide, is ready to spend as much as $1 billion on original shows for its platform by the end of next year, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
- The spending plans indicate that CEO Mark Zuckerberg is willing to put more money than before to become a "video-first" platform. He has said the company is willing to pay for some content now, but eventually expects video creators will be financed through an ad revenue-sharing model.
- Meanwhile, Time started airing a video series for Watch, Facebook's new platform for shows and videos. "Homemade vs. The Internet," a cooking reality show that pits a millennial food writer against an award-winning chef, will run for five episodes, a statement said.
Improved mobile bandwidth has helped to drive a major shift toward video programming, which social media companies like Facebook and Snapchat see as a key way to keep audiences engaged with their apps and lure big-name advertisers. Facebook is keen on developing programming that people like to discuss on social media, such as sports. The company was outbid by 21st Century Fox’s Star India for the broadcast and digital streaming rights to the Indian Premier League for cricket matches from 2018 to 2022, according to The Wall Street Journal.
But Facebook isn’t alone in seeking original video programming. Traditional broadcasters, cable networks and tech companies like Google’s YouTube, Netflix and Amazon are plowing billions of dollars into movies, TV series and documentaries to compete for people’s attention. Apple, whose iTunes and App Store provide a platform for content creators, is also prepared to spend on original content.
While TV viewing traditionally has been a passive experience, Facebook wants support content in ways that can be shared to play up the strengths of its platform. In addition to video, the company also wants to get licensing rights to music that its users play in the background of videos they upload, according to Bloomberg News. Facebook wants to make deals with music owners so that the company can avoid turning off users whose videos get removed for violating copyrights.