24 Sep 2017
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Facebook plans to produce original TV-quality series

MUMBAI: Social networking site Facebook is planning to produce high-quality television series and gaming shows to broadcast on its platform.

‘The Wall Street Journal’ and PTI reported that Facebook is willing to pay up to $3 million per episode for centrepiece shows.

Facebook is hoping to target audiences aged 13–34, with a focus on the 17–30 age group. The company has already lined up ‘Strangers’, a relationship drama, and a game show, ‘Last State Standing’, the report said.

The online platform, which has around two billion monthly users worldwide, is working on the project with a small group of partners and hopes to start putting out episodes of its forthcoming series by the end of the summer. It will have both the runtime and the budget of full-fledged cable TV productions.

Confirming a report in ‘The Wall Street Journal’, Facebook media partnerships vice president Nick Grudin said in a statement to AFP that their goal is to make Facebook a place where people can come together around video.

Grudin said, “Facebook, along with collaborators, will experiment with the kinds of shows you can build a community around—from sports to comedy to reality to gaming. Facebook is funding the shows on its own at first. But over time we want to help lots of creators make videos funded through revenue sharing products like Ad Break, a software tool that allows adverts to be directly inserted into Facebook’s online content.”

The company is also interested in sit-com programming with episodic budgets in the six-figure range, and signed deals for short-form content from partners like ATTN, Vox Media and BuzzFeed earlier this month.

Apart from Facebook, Netflix, Amazon and the online television platform Hulu, a joint venture by Disney, Comcast, 21st Century and Time Warner, have entered into content production deal. YouTube and Apple are also creating their own content but on a more modest scale.

Last week, Apple Inc. launched its first series, a reality show ‘Planet of The Apps’. It is an unscripted show about developers trying to interest celebrity mentors with a 60-second pitch on an escalator. Apple Inc. hired Sony Pictures Television co-presidents Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg earlier this month to lead its video programming efforts.