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Facebook is getting serious about original programming; will take on Netflix

The video-streaming landscape might be in for some churn as Facebook forays into original shows.

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Now, Facebook wants to get into original programming. This could lead to an emergence of a new order in the world of video-streaming — currently among the most lucrative business streams, with giants like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video competing for eyeballs and ad dollars.

Facebook is said to be in talks with major Hollywood studios for the development and production of quality shows “aimed at audiences from 13 to 34 that avoids politics, news, nudity and rough language,” according to a WSJ report. The social networking giant is even willing to dole out up to $3 million per episode. That is a lot of money, and reveals Facebook’s serious intentions of capturing a share of the ad dollars poured into television every year. Another report on Hollywood Reporter states that Facebook is nearing a deal to revive former MTV comedy Loosely Exactly Nicole.

Interestingly, Facebook’s move comes soon after another tech behemoth, Apple, ventured into original content programming. Earlier this month, the iPhone-maker launched a reality show titled Planet of the Apps that revolves around app developers pitching for business inside elevators. Apple’s recent hires — it scooped up top television executives Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg from Sony Pictures Television a fortnight ago — indicate the company’s strong intent about entertainment programming. ALSO READ: Vodafone offers free Netflix subscription up to 1 year to RED customers

Facebook has reportedly lined up two shows — Strangers (a relationship drama), and Last State Standing (a game show), and is even willing to “share viewership data” with the production studios — something that Netflix has traditionally been opposed to. This could tip producers in favour of the Zuckerberg-owned firm.

However, Facebook may not necessarily go after the same audience as Netflix’s that is slightly premium and more mature. Facebook is more mass, and its video programming could be aligned with that. According to Hollywood Reporter, Facebook “is not seeking to develop highbrow content. They want soapy, wide appeal because Facebook is a mass medium that most of the country is a part of.” ALSO READ: Facebook to create $14 million consortium to battle fake news

Currently, the world of OTT programming is dominated by Netflix. Other top players include Amazon Prime Video and Hulu. Netflix announced in April that it was nearing 100 million subscribers, and most of its growth was coming from markets outside the US. It plans to spend more than $1 billion in marketing this year, the company had said in the shareholder letter. With Facebook foraying into the space, we could finally see the end of Netflix monopoly — something Hollywood has been fearing for a while.

  • Published Date: June 27, 2017 12:49 PM IST