Facebook Looking to Publish More Long-Form Original Series

Facebook is on the hunt for more TV-like original programming for the video tab in its mobile app. The company is looking for weekly shows no longer than 30 minutes per episode. Facebook isn’t interested in hard news content, but rather scripted and unscripted shows in subject areas including sports, science, pop culture, lifestyle, gaming and teens. Original programming would not only help keep users on the social media platform longer; it could also generate a significant amount of ad revenue.

The original shows would be featured in the “spotlight module” in the video tab on Facebook’s mobile app. Every 24 hours, the spotlight module would repopulate with about six new videos. While videos in the News Feed are often short clips, videos in this tab are intended to be long-form content that can keep users engaged longer. Facebook plans to fund some of the original series, and license others from media partners, reports Digiday.

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Facebook has already forged media partnerships with news organizations. The Wall Street Journal reports that some of those organizations are irked that they aren’t being tapped to create the original programming, especially after many of them have invested resources into Facebook video initiatives like Facebook Live. The social media platform isn’t interested in news for its original programs.

Instead, Facebook executives are looking for shows in the lifestyle, culture, sports, and science verticals. These shows probably won’t look anything like regular TV programming just yet because of Facebook’s budget. The company can offer a “premium digital rate” for scripted content, similar to the low- to mid-six figure budgets per episode on Verizon’s go90 or YouTube Red. Original programming from major networks costs several million dollars per episode, comparatively.

The long-form content is part of Facebook’s strategy to increase ad revenue and keep users on the platform longer. The company has even rolled out an Apple TV app, so that people can consume media on a different device as well.

Related:
Facebook’s Officially a Media Company. Time to Act Like One, Wired, 3/6/17
Facebook, Rushing into Live Video, Wasn’t Ready for Its Dark Side, The Wall Street Journal, 3/6/17