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Vox and BuzzFeed Are Bringing Original Shows to Facebook

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Facebook are making their first big push towards outfitting their service with TV-like content. Several companies have inked deals with them to produce long and short form serial content which will be broadcast through the platform. The two biggest names are Vox and BuzzFeed, but ATTN, Group Nine Media and several others have reportedly also come to terms.

Apparently, the shows will be split between 20-30 minute scripted shows and 5-10 minute unscripted shows. Facebook will own the former, but not the latter. Presumably that means that the regulations surrounding the shorter content are different, but all the details revealed so far have come from an anonymous source, so everything is purely speculative.

What we do know is that Facebook will be paying up to $250,000 per episode for longer shows and $35,000 per episode for shorter ones, which means that we can expect fairly unspectacular, low budget content, at least at first. Most high-end TV costs at least $1 million per episode, with the most expensive show currently running being Game of Thrones, which runs at upwards of $10 million per episode.

It would be ridiculous for Facebook to shoot for such lofty heights straight out of the gate, but at those kinds of costs there are a number of things you can almost guarantee you won't be seeing - recognisable actors, lots of locations, special effects or anything particularly action-packed. Most of these shows will probably be largely dialogue driven, and shot in a small set of locations, possibly studio sets. Sitcom logic, essentially.

Since Facebook are approaching BuzzFeed, Vox, Group Nine and other more journalistic firms, the odds are that the shows being made will be topical, and likely have a lot of roots in internet culture. BuzzFeed already have a very active YouTube channel, which they use to give their writers the chance to put their faces on something. Most of their content is sketches and parodies.

The motivation behind all this is ad revenue. Now that Facebook can place ad interrupts in their videos (even ones which run at under 2 minutes), they're finding ways to get as much video content on the platform as they can. Will any of it be worth watching? Probably not, but if even one show gets some traction, they might start courting bigger studios and offering more funding. Just don't expect any dragons to show up for a while.


Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @Songbird_Callum

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Vox and BuzzFeed Are Bringing Original Shows to Facebook Reviewed by Callum Davies on Friday, May 26, 2017 Rating: 5

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