Citing people familiar with the matter, a report by The Wall Street Journal is claiming that Facebook is looking to invest up to $1 billion to produce original TV shows for its platform. The social networking giant has already made several moves to ramp up its video strategy, including deals for digital TV shows, as it looks to further cash in on online video ads.
The report notes that the $1 billion figure, which could fluctuate based on the initial performance of Facebook’s programming, covers potential spending through the next financial year. It must be noted that WSJ has previously reported that Facebook would be willing to pay up to $3 million per episode for potential high-profile shows, an amount that rivals the price of top shows on premium cable channels.
The investment signals Facebook’s readiness to spend more than before to become what Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg calls a “video-first” platform.
Facebook’s thirst for video content pits it against traditional broadcasters such as Time Warner Inc.’s HBO and deep-pocketed tech companies such as Amazon.com Inc. and Netflix Inc., which all are banking on video to capture the fleeting attention of users and seize billions of dollars in advertising that is expected to migrate from television to digital video.
So far, Facebook has has deals in place for streaming live sports, including MLB games and European soccer, as well as e-sports competitions.