Facebook to spend as much as $1 billion on original shows in the next year

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  • Facebook is reportedly prepared to spend as much as $1 billion to fund original content for its new Watch platform, according to a new report from the Wall Street Journal.

    We reported on Facebook’s Watch platform a few weeks ago, which aims to rival the likes of YouTube.

    Facebook is not the only company to shell out money like this for original programming, as earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal also reported that Apple was due to spend $1 billion on content for their Apple Music platform.

    That being said, however, both company’s investments in original programming is only a fraction of what competitors like Netflix and Amazon are spending.

    Netflix is due to spend $6 billion, and Amazon is due to spend $4.5 billion in 2017.

    In 2016, Facebook set aside $50 million to pay influencers and brands to make content for its just released Live platform. This was seen as a success by Facebook, who later shared that one in five videos shared are live-streamed.

    Whether Facebook end up spending all of their budget, however, is still up for debate, as this figure “could fluctuate based on the success of Facebook’s programming,” according to the WSJ’s report.

    How this $1 billion will be spent has also been left ambiguous. For example, it is unclear if some of this is due to be spent on sports deals, such as Facebook’s lost bid of $600 million for five-year rights to Indian Premier League cricket matches.

    In May of 2017, Facebook announced a number of partnerships with media brands, such as Buzzfeed, in which they would pay up to $35,000 for episodes of 5 to 10 minutes of shows that brands would own, wherein Facebook would take a 45% cut of ad revenue generated.

    Facebook’s aim, it appears, is to make TV a social experience. This was reinforced last month when product management leader Daniel Danker said, “You discover videos through your friends. You often find yourself discussing videos with friends. Video has this amazing power to bring people together and build community.”

    Facebook launched Watch to all users in the U.S. this week, but there’s no indication as to when it will expand to areas such as the UK.

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