Facebook’s head of content strategy and planning Matthew Henick told the audience of Variety’s CES Summit in Las Vegas Wednesday that the company licensed Joss Whedon’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Angel” and “Firefly” for Facebook Watch as a way to literally get people to talk – preferably while they watch the shows together through Facebook’s co-watching tools.
“Co-watching is a communal experience where you literally consume video with other people.” Henick said. As such, co-watching tools were a big part of Facebook’s strategy of embracing people-centric viewing, he argued.
Whedon’s shows, which Facebook started to stream for free on its Watch video platform in December, are meant to be lighthouse titles for the company, proving out the model and inspiring other publishers to embrace Watch as well.
However, over time, Facebook may slow its spend on originals, he suggested. “We will definitely modulate our investment,” Henick said. “We are not going to make the bulk of the content that people want to see.”
Henick also clarified that Facebook wasn’t looking to spend money on original content for IGTV, the video service that the company launched as part of Instagram six months ago. “I don’t see us doing an original strategy” for IGTV, he said.
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He tried to assure his audience that the company was committed to IGTV, despite a mixed reception and reported low audience numbers. “We see a lot of improvement recently.” Henick said. “It’s full steam ahead.”