Facebook has plans to launch original TV programmes by “late summer” according to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).
The newspaper has reported that the social network is in talks with Hollywood studios to produce scripted, TV-quality shows. Citing sources close to the company, Facebook reportedly has production budgets as high as $3m per episode.
The Zuckerberg-owned company began talks about launching its own original shows back in December last year. Now, it appears Facebook has at least two shows in the pipeline: a relationship drama named Strangers, and a game show called Last State Standing.
As well, it is also planning to host sports shows in the network. Earlier this year, Facebook reportedly lost out on a deal to stream NFL games online, which instead, ending up going to Amazon in a $50m deal.
With is new content, it wants to target audiences from ages 13-34, with a focus on the 17-30 range.
It’s no wonder that Facebook wants to get into broadcasting original shows online. Since Netflix launched in 1997 as an on-demand video service, it has since become one of the most successful .com ventures in the world, due to its streaming platform.
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When Netflix announced its earnings results for 2016, it revealed a 56 percent rise in profits year-on-year, to $67m.
Read more: 5 reasons everyone wants to be like Netflix
Amazon’s online streaming presence is getting bigger too, thanks to its NFL deal and the high profile its original content shows enjoy. And Amazon Studies, a unit of the Seattle-based company won three Oscars at this year’s Academy Awards event: best actor and original screenplay for Manchester By The Sea and best foreign language film for Iranian drama The Salesman.
Facebook will be going a slightly different way to these two streaming giants. It will following a more traditional TV-route by releasing episodes weekly, rather than an entire season at once the way Amazon and Netflix do.
As well, Netflix and Amazon Prime rely on subscription fees to fund the platform. It’s not yet clear how Facebook will fund its original shows, though it recently introduced adverts on videos uploaded to the platform, so it makes sense to start here.
But, with 1.28bn daily active users, Facebook knows it has an extremely big audience which will have access to its shows, in order to ensure their success.