Facebook has announced that its video streaming service called Watch, will spend billions to create original video content, putting it in position to compete with Apple, Amazon and Netflix.
Shows that were available at launch include Nas Daily, which features a creator who makes a daily video with his fans; Gabby Bernstein, an interactive show from the popular motivational speaker and bestselling author; and Kitchen Little, created by the publisher Tastemade which follows kids making recipes with professional chefs.
Facebook also reached a deal with Major League Baseball to broadcast one live game every week.
Per a Wall Street Journal report, Facebook is going to invest about $1 billion in video content. The company is willing to pay upwards of $3 million per episode for centerpiece shows, and will also be producing original sitcoms with budgets in six figures per episode.
Vice President of Media Partnerships Nick Grudin, told The Verge in an email, “We’re funding these shows directly now, but over time we want to help lots of creators make videos funded through revenue sharing products like Ad Break.”
Eventually, Facebook wants to pay zero bucks for the original shows, instead offering all the creators a 45% share of their ad revenue.
While $1 billion may seem like a huge investment for creating original content, it is quite small compared to other companies in the market. Netflix invested $6 billion in 2017 and Amazon shelled out $4.5 billion in creating video content throughout the year.
Facebook plans to make TV a social experience through its shows on Watch. Daniel Danker, product management leader, said last month, “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.”
To facilitate this, all of Watch’s shows have comments enabled and some are incorporated into Facebook Groups. This news comes a month after the WSJ reported that Apple would spend $1 billion on original content in the next year.
Streaming platforms have shown that destination programming is the way of the future. The company’s approach seems to be a blend of Netflix and YouTube – a collection of social and original content.