Facebook is in talks with Hollywood studios about producing scripted, TV-quality shows, with an aim of launching original programming by late summer. This was reported by Wall Street Journal on Sunday, which has given out details of shows that the company plans to launch. The WSJ report is not the first to talk about Facebook’s foray into original programming.
Facebook’s plans for original content were first reported in December 2016 by Mashable and Re-code. At that stage, Facebook had just begun talks with potential partners. Facebook hired Ricky Van Veen, co-founder of CollegeHumour site as its head of global creative strategy and he is believed to be leading the initiative around original content.
According to the WSJ report, Facebook is looking at high-end budgets for its original content. The report indicates, Facebook was willing to commit to production budgets as high as $3 million per episode, in its meetings with Hollywood talent agencies.
Facebook is hoping to target audiences from ages 13 to 34, with a focus on the 17 to 30 range and is looking at short-scripted content as well. Companies working on the short-form content include BuzzFeed, ATTN, and Refinery29.
The company has already lined up “Strangers”, a relationship drama, and a game show, “Last State Standing”, the report said. Facebook could not be immediately reached for comment. The company is expected to release episodes in a traditional manner, instead of dropping an entire season in one go like Netflix Inc and Amazon.com Inc, WSJ reported. The company is also willing to share its viewership data with Hollywood, the report said.
Facebook isn’t the only one looking at original video content. Apple recently hired co-presidents of Sony Pictures Television, Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg, earlier this month, to lead its video-programming efforts. Apple began its long-awaited move into original television series last week, with a reality show called “Planet of the Apps”, an unscripted show about developers trying to interest celebrity mentors with a 60-second pitch on an escalator. The company’s future programming plans include an adaptation of comedian James Corden’s “Carpool Karaoke” segment from his CBS Corp show that will begin airing in August.
With Reuters inputs