You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Facebook to Fund Original Video Programming From Creators, Media Companies

Facebook is embarking on a plan to bring exclusive entertainment content to its platform, saying it will fund and license original programming spanning a range of formats — including scripted and unscripted shows — from media companies and individual digital stars.

The initiative is being headed up by Ricky Van Veen, Facebook’s head of global creative strategy (pictured above), who joined the social giant earlier this year from CollegeHumor.

It’s early days: The company didn’t provide details on exactly who it’s approaching for the initiative at this point, but a rep said it is reaching out to a range of partners. CEO Mark Zuckerberg has previously insisted that Facebook is a technology-platform company, not a media company, but as it moves into acquiring and licensing content it’s going to be hard for Facebook to stick to that position.

Facebook’s aim is to seed content for the new video tab in its mobile app, to make it more of a destination for users to spend time watching video content. The effort is similar to its program under which it has paid celebrities and media companies, including BuzzFeed, CNN and the New York Times, to produce video for Facebook Live.

Van Veen, in a statement provided to Variety, said: “Our goal is to kick-start an ecosystem of partner content for the tab, so we’re exploring funding some seed video content, including original and licensed scripted, unscripted and sports content, that takes advantage of mobile and the social interaction unique to Facebook. Our goal is to show people what is possible on the platform and learn as we continue to work with video partners around the world.”

Last week, Facebook expanded the availability of the Video to more people in the U.S. on iOS and Android. The Video tab — located on the bottom navigation bar on iOS and on the top navigation bar on Android — and is “a new destination for people to discover all kinds of video content they may be interested in,” the company said in announcing the wider rollout of the feature.

As for advertising, Facebook has recently tested serving ads in live video content and a company rep it will continue to explore different forms of monetization that will make distributing content on the platform a sustainable business for partners.

The new Facebook strategy is reminiscent of YouTube’s original channels launch in 2012, under which the Google-owned video site spent upwards of $200 million to fund content for about 100 channels. YouTube has since taken a different tack, producing and financing original TV series and films for its own subscription-video service, YouTube Red.

More Digital

  • Google Stadia is a Net Neutrality

    Google Stadia is a Net Neutrality Nightmare

    At the Game Developers Conference (GDC) this year, Google announced that it has taken up the long and ever-lengthening dream of the video game streaming service. Meant to replace the hefty, pricey, altogether confounding experience of buying and using various gaming hardware, Google Stadia will run video games on Google’s own hardware in a server [...]

  • crunchyroll logo

    Crunchyroll Raises Subscription Price to $7.99

    AT&T-owned anime subscription video service Crunchyroll is raising its monthly subscription price from $6.95 to $7.99 a month, it announced in an email to members Friday. It’s the service’s first price increase ever, according to a spokesperson. The new pricing will go into effect on May 1 for new subscribers, while existing members will see [...]

  • StyleHaul

    StyleHaul Shuts Down U.S. Operations, Lays Off About 65 Employees

    The axe is falling on StyleHaul: The fashion, beauty and lifestyle digital media and marketing company owned by RTL Group is shuttering U.S. operations, resulting the layoff of around 65 employees. StyleHaul offices in L.A., with about 55 employees, and in New York City, with around 10 staffers, are closing. RTL said StyleHaul’s U.K. operations, [...]

  • Bandsintown Platform Acquires Hypebot, MusicThinkTank

    Bandsintown Platform Acquires Hypebot, MusicThinkTank

    Bandsintown, a leading platform for letting music fans know about upcoming concerts by their favorite artists, has acquired Hypebot, a news site publishing stories about the music industry and technology, and its sister site MusicThinkTank. “I’m proud to share that Hypebot and MusicThinkTank have been acquired by Bandsintown,” wrote Bruce Houghton, the founder of the [...]

  • Vertigo Games Believes ‘Location-Based Virtual Reality’

    Vertigo Games Believes ‘Location-Based Virtual Reality’ Is Future of VR

    As virtual reality becomes more and more available, many developers are looking for new frontiers to expand the experiences offered by the tech. For Netherlands-based Vertigo Games, that next frontier is what they call “location-based virtual reality.” It’s essentially high-quality VR experiences where players aren’t tethered to a PC or even to the confines of [...]

  • GDC 2019: Google's Play For Gaming

    GDC 2019: Google's Play for Gaming Ubiquity, Rise of Ray Tracing, Store Wars

    The Game Developers Conference finished up Friday evening, wrapping one of the most exciting GDCs in recent memory with Google’s splashy entrance into AAA video gaming, the emergence of real-time ray tracing as a compelling technology for film, TV, and games, and the growing war between two global estore powerhouses: Valve’s Steam and the Epic [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content