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Discovery to create slate of Facebook originals

Facebook WatchDiscovery Communications has entered into a deal with Facebook to create a slate of original shows for the social media giant’s new video service.

The deal will see Discovery develop“premium mid-form shows” for Facebook Watch.

Some will be based on existing Discovery franchises and other exclusive to Facebook.

The first is Celebrity Animal Encounters, which is from Discovery’s Animal Planet channel. The Asylum Entertainment-produced show will see celebs such as Kristen Bell Fabio and Danny Trejo sharing personal stories about unusual encounters with animals that will be animated.

The five-episode series will be made available next week, sitting alongside shows from the likes of A&E and National Geographic on the new platform.

Following that will be Investigation Discovery-branded Still a Mystery, which re-examines single crimes in which unanswered questions remain. It will run to five episodes.

From female-skewed TLC is a Say yes to the Dress spin-off, also running to five episodes.

Programmes from other Discovery networks will follow after these premiere on Watch, which launched in limited format in the US recently, this autumn.

“We’re thrilled to be partnering with Facebook because the new Watch platform shares our commitment to engage passionate fans and create communities through video,” said Paul Guyardo, chief commercial officer at Discovery, which has been increasingly taking direct-to-consumer and digital routes to access young adult audiences.

Guyardo said the deal was “another example of our commitment to delivering compelling, original content to superfans across all platforms”.

Watch is rolling out internationally in coming months. The industry is watching its original content strategy closely, as the company has the financial muscle to significantly alter the balance of power in the international content business.