Facebook is reportedly in talks with Hollywood studios regarding the production of scripted, TV-quality shows. The social media giant’s aim is to launch original programming by the end of summer, according to a Wall Street Journal report published on Sunday. Facebook has indicated that it was willing to commit to production budgets of as much as, even $3 million for each episode, in meetings with Hollywood talent agencies, the Journal reported, citing sources familiar with the matter. The social media website is hoping to target audiences from ages 13 to 34, with a focus on the 17 to 30 range. The company has already lined up “Strangers”, a relationship drama, and a game show, “Last State Standing”, the report said.
Facebook, in December 2016, had admitted that it is a media company, and now it has begun to get into the business of producing content including original TV shows as well as unscripted video shorts. The company is expected to release episodes in a traditional manner, instead of dropping an entire season in one go like Netflix and Amazon, WSJ reported. The company is also willing to share its viewing figures with Hollywood, the report said. Apple hired co-presidents of Sony Pictures Television, Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg, earlier this month, to lead its video programming efforts.
The company is also working with BuzzFeed, ATTN and Refinery29 to produce short-form content (running for about 10 minutes). In a statement, Vice President of Media Partnerships Nick Grudin said, “We are 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.”
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Facebook is clearly taking on the likes of Netflix, Amazon and YouTube. While those portals have been = investing in original content for a long time now, they might still meet a formidable rival in the social network with close to two billion users worldwide. Also, Facebook’s show will reportedly be supported by ads, so its shows could be available for free. Additionally, Apple began its long-awaited move into original television series last week, with a reality show called “Planet of the Apps”.
In the meantime, Twitter is happy with ‘live coverage’, news, and sports and fashion shows. In May this year, it had announced many new deals where it said that it will bring streaming video from partners like Bloomberg, The Verge, NBA, MLB and IMG to its platform.
With both Netflix and Amazon winning Oscars this year, and Facebook finally jumping on the bandwagon, it won’t be far-fetched to say that online TV is no longer the future; it is the present.