Facebook Inks Deals With BuzzFeed, Vox for Video Content

Facebook has inked deals with millennial-focused news and entertainment publishers ATTN, BuzzFeed, Group Nine Media, Vox Media and others to produce original programming for its upcoming video service. The social network will pay up to $250,000 per episode for long-form scripted shows, which it will then own, and up to $35,000 for shorter videos, for which creators will receive 55 percent of ad revenue (both formats will carry advertising). The video initiative is expected to position the platform in competition with YouTube Red, Snapchat’s Discover, and even traditional TV networks.

Facebook’s move into acquiring and licensing video content is part of its latest effort to generate more advertising revenue and better compete with other services. Earlier this month, chief exec Mark Zuckerberg told investors the company was seeking “anchor content” that would steer users to the video tab that is positioned on Facebook’s app.

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According to Reuters, “Facebook is planning two tiers of video entertainment: scripted shows with episodes lasting 20 to 30 minutes … and shorter scripted and unscripted shows with episodes lasting about 5 to 10 minutes.” The longer, scripted shows “will be owned by Facebook, taking a page from a strategy employed successfully by Netflix and Amazon.com, which both now own some of the content they sell to subscribers.”

Former MTV exec Mina Lefevre is leading Facebook’s push into original video content. The platform currently offers live video from news publishers and users, and is testing live sports, including a new deal with Major League Baseball.

“While Facebook will initially run short-form shows exclusively on its site, the creators of the content will be able to run the shows on their own properties after a negotiated period of time, and will be able to eventually sell them externally” notes Reuters. “The company is focused on working with news and entertainment makers that are already active on Facebook and have a large millennial following.”