The more, the merrier it is for online entertainment as Facebook-funded shows were made available this week for its millions of users.
Business Insider’s lifestyle brand Insider will have two new shows, The Great Cheese Hunt, and It’s Cool, But Does It Really Work? News and issues publisher Attn will premiere with We Need to Talk, a relationship-advice show, to be followed by Health Hacks, starring Jessica Alba, on September 1.
Hearst has two shows: Wiki What? which will feature celebrities such as T.J. Miller and Danny McBride reviewing their own Wikipedia pages and a witty science show called Untangled. Food video giant Tastemade will launch four shows -- Safe Deposit, Struggle Meals, Food to Die For, and Kitchen Little -- over the next week while Refinery29 will have its first two episodes of a scripted fiction series called Strangers August 31.
All of these shows can be viewed on Facebook Watch, a platform designed to accommodate longer-form, episodic video series for Facebook users to enjoy.
YouTube could face stiff competition as more than 30 different content partners have initially signed up to kick-start Watch. Once the video app becomes more widely available in the US, expect “hundreds” of shows to be offered by Facebook, a spokesperson said.
Most of the shows are described as “spotlight shows,” with most episodes lasting between four and 10 minutes. Facebook is shelling out $10,000 to $40,000 per episode for these types of shows, buying at least five episodes up front and releasing them weekly to keep users returning to Watch again and again.
Facebook also plans to run mid-roll units (online video commercials that appear during an online video) within the programs, as a revenue-sharing scheme with content partners after they have recouped the production costs. Facebook will roll out its bigger-budget TV shows later this year, for which it is reportedly willing to pay as much as $3 million per episode.
Whether or not Facebook’s new TV-like tab can compete with YouTube’s popularity — especially after stumbles with Suggested Videos and Facebook Live — remains to be seen. So far, content publishers are willing to invest in Facebook’s initiative. Insider, for instance, has a new three-person team called Insider Shows, which will oversee the development and production of shows for Facebook and any other platforms.
Insider’s initial foray into Facebook shows started on a good note, with The Great Cheese Hunt and It’s Cool, But Does It Really Work? averaging roughly 2,000 views per minute in their first few hours on Facebook, according to Nicholas Carlson, editor-in-chief of Insider.
“As this medium develops, we’re excited to invest more and more into this team,” Carlson said.
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