Andy Mitchell, Director of Strategic Media and Platform Partnerships at Facebook, has confirmed that the company has no plans for a premium service allowing access to and discovery of content. He also said the company had no immediate plans to generate content for its platform.
Participating in a MIPCOM seminar on the future of TV hosted by cloud TV platform Magine, Mitchell said that people were really connecting over content, suggesting that the second screen, as much as anything, is a place where people like to come and share their thoughts about shows that they’re watching. “While there’s not a direct correlation that we can draw from research, if you look at the ratings of Breaking Bad over the five years it was on the air, it kept going up, and that’s a new phenomenon. I think as more people talked about it on Facebook and other social media platforms, the more people were engaged; they were able to go back through over the top services and catch up, and then we saw a huge number of people who were talking about the show for the finale when it aired. So I do think that […] social media, specifically as a place where people are connecting and talking about television content, is a huge opportunity, and I think we’re really in its infancy.”
He described Facebook is a platform for people to connect with their friends.”It’s a distribution platform; a discovery platform, so it really complements traditional, and even non-traditional content. It’s a place to find where your friends and colleagues, and people that you know are talking about content. You have trusted friends, we all have trusted friends, and before we’re going to invest any time in content, it’s good to get a social recommendation, and that is ultimately stronger than many critics.”
Asked by session moderator Riz Khan whether he saw Facebook starting to generate content, in the way that many other companies, such as Google, seem to be becoming content generators, taking over from traditional TV production, his response was unequivocal. “Not today. What we’re focused on today is finding ways for Facebook to be an important complement to traditional content, and it doesn’t matter on which platform. We want to help leverage our platform to help people can discover more and different content.”
Responding to whether there would ever be Facebook premium, in the same way that there is LinkedIn premium, where people pay to get access to, and discovery of, interesting product or content, Mitchell’s response was equally candid. “Certainly not in any of our plans today – Facebook is a free platform, and is intending to stay that way.”