Facebook Jumps Aboard the Original Content Train

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Can the top social network also make it in the content streaming world?

More than 25% of the world’s population is using Facebook, making it the largest online social network. Users post updates, read news, look at photos, and, more increasingly, watch videos. As of now, Facebook users rarely watch a video longer than 90 seconds. After all, one would first think of TV, streaming services, and YouTube before Facebook for their entertainment. However, Facebook wants to change that.

Like many others before it, Facebook desires to invest in original creative content. The company is currently negotiating deals for shows such as a reality competition series titled “Last State Standing” and Season 2 of (previously) MTV’s comedy show “Loosely Exactly Nicole.” Facebook plans on releasing these shows in an upcoming video tab on their website, which they will call “Spotlight.”

In funding original creative content, Facebook hopes to encourage production companies to upload their videos to the website, draining advertising money away from TV and into Facebook. Facebook is interested in two types of content: 1.) hero shows - from recognized TV producers that will take longer to produce and be more expensive, and 2.) spotlight shows – cheaper, shorter content from producers like BuzzFeed and Vox Media.

To make this happen, Facebook has put together a team of experienced executives to help them break into Hollywood. This team includes Ricky Van Veen (College Humor co-founder), Sarah Madigan (from Netflix) to procure content, and Mina Lefevre (from MTV) to direct content development.

Overall, viewers will have to wait and see how successful Facebook will be with this new operation. The company often rushes into new ideas and spaces, and exits quickly if things don’t work out. But Facebook has been thinking about video for a while now, so perhaps they will not give up. Either way, Hollywood will not be able to refuse Facebook’s gigantic audience.