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September 11, 2017

Facebook Prepared to Spend $1B on Original Shows: Report

Facebook is going after YouTube in a big way.

The social media giant is reportedly willing to sink as much as $1 billion into original programming for its new Watch platform.

Sources told The Australian, the $1-billion figure encompasses potential spending through 2018, although the amount could change based on the success of early shows.

As the publication pointed out, the move is a clear signal that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is prepared to spend big to truly make the network a “video-first” platform.

Aside from YouTube, the move would also put Facebook in competition with Amazon, Netflix and Apple, all of whom are sinking considerable dollars into original content.

Facebook has declined to comment on the article or its future video plans.

The company did, however, roll out Watch, a new platform for shows on Facebook, to all U.S. users last week. Watch offers original video content via mobile app, desktop and TV app and enables users to subscribe to a Watchlist to keep track of shows they are interested in. Shows, which can be live or recorded, are made up of episodes and follow a theme or storyline: a weekly home decorating show, for example.

Facebook, so far,  has funded some community-oriented and episodic video series such as Returning the Favor. In this series, host Mike Rowe searches out “people doing something extraordinary for their community, tells the world about it, and in turn does something extraordinary for them.”

In the future, it seems likely the social networking firm will broaden the scope of the types of shows it will fund.