It seems like Facebook Inc. is gearing up to be the media company it has always denied it is. According to recent reports, the social media behemoth will release Facebook Premium TV shows sometime in the middle of June.
The news of Facebook TV emerged after Business Insider said it spoke with numerous people close to Facebook saying that the company had given the greenlight to “about two dozen shows for this initial push,” with multiple shows waiting in the wings.
According to the sources, Facebook is looking to attract more of its 2 billion users toward its own original videos and away from video content providers such as Google Inc.-owned YouTube and Amazon.com Inc. To do this, Facebook will reportedly put together a series of short clip-type shows on a small budget, and refresh them daily. It will also produce big-budget shows similar to what we might expect from Netflix Originals. According to those sources, Facebook wants to produce longer shows similar to that of Netflix’s “House of Cards.”
CollegeHumor cofounder Ricky Van Veen, who is now Facebook’s global creative strategy chief, is said to be heading Facebook TV. He and his 30-person team have already met with production companies regarding five- to 30-minute TV shows that would appear in Facebook’s video tab. It’s not certain if Van Veen will be responsible for the bigger shows.
A-list celebrities are reportedly already on board with the project, although most of the content Facebook will create not surprisingly will be aimed at a teenage audience. Sources said Facebook was “obsessed” with Snapchat Inc., a company whose target audience is barely post-pubescent. They also said Facebook was looking closely at producing sports content.
It’s likely Facebook’s short scripted videos may have some viral appeal, and they could be an ad revenue goldmine. But it’s uncertain if the platform will ever become the go-to place for high-quality video content. “Facebook hasn’t figured it out,” one of the inside sources told Business Insider.