For a long time, Facebook mostly masked its media ambitions. However, with those ambitions growing, the company confirmed that it is a media brand last December. It was a reluctant admittance, but it was proof the social network would explore media. Now Facebook is reported to be investing heavily into content production for TV-quality shows.
The company is willing to throw cash at its plans, too. Indeed, Facebook will allocate up to $3 million per 30-minutes of content.
To put that into perspective, it is about the same as it cost to produce Breaking Bad and early seasons of The Walking Dead. However, it also significantly lower than some shows, such as Game of Thrones.
Still, if Facebook is shopping this kind of money to Hollywood, producers will likely flock. It is reported the company will focus on content targeting the all-important 17-30 demographic.
While this ambition is only now coming to light, the company already has some shows in the pipeline. A comedy series starring Nicole Byer called Loosely Exactly Nicole will be picked up by Facebook. This show was canceled by MTV after one season, so it will be interesting to see if the network can give it legs.
Other shows are a drama series called Strangers, and a game show from the producers of American Ninja Warrior.
Facebook is also collaborating with ATTN, BuzzFeed and Refinery 29 for short-form content. The company's Vice President of Media Partnerships Nick Grudin said:
“We're 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.”
Building from the Network
Of course, the network will be using its own platform to deliver the content. With that in mind, a Videos tab is being previewed and tested in India. This tab shows content across media categories and will certainly host Facebook-made content.
Whenever Facebook embarks on these forays, it always feels like extracurricular activity. The company is a social network and I always feel that it will never do side services as well as dedicated providers.
Let us know in the comments whether you think the company will be able to compete with the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime.