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Facebook goes to Hollywood

June 26, 2017

By Colin Mann

Social network giant Facebook is in discussions with Hollywood studios and agencies with a view to producing TV-quality shows targeting the launch of original programming by late summer 2017, according to the Wall Street Journal.

In meetings with major talent agencies including Creative Artists Agency, United Talent Agency, William Morris Endeavor and International Creative Management Partners, Facebook has suggested it is willing to commit to production budgets as high as $3 million (€2.68m) per episode, reports suggest.

Such an outlay is on a par with high-end cable-TV shows. It is also understood that Facebook is interested in more moderate-cost scripted shows in the mid-to-high six-figure-per-episode range, and that Facebook will be aggressive about trying to own as much of that content as possible.

The TV show initiative reflects Facebook’s efforts to raise its game in video and target a share of ad revenue.

Facebook also thought to be interested in short-form content, primarily unscripted, that could run for 10 minutes in the Spotlight section for videos. Reports suggest that Facebook is guaranteeing creators of short-form fare a minimum $5,000 to $20,000 share of ad revenue per episode. Companies working on such content for Facebook include BuzzFeed, ATTN and Refinery 29.

In a statement, Vice President of Media Partnerships Nick Grudin said: “We’re supporting a small group of partners and creators as they experiment with the kinds of shows you can build a community around – from sports to comedy to reality to gaming. We’re focused on episodic shows and helping all our partners understand what works across different verticals and topics.”

Facebook’s entry into the TV market comes some years after Netflix and Amazon’s respective entries and places it in competition with Apple, which recently signalled its original TV programming intentions with the hiring of two leading executives from Sony Corp.’s TV studio.

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