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Facebook ‘could spend US$1bn’ on original shows

Facebook Watch

Facebook Watch

Facebook could spend up to US$1 billion on original shows for its platform between now and 2018, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

The paper, citing unnamed sources, said that the precise figure spent by the social media giant could vary depending on the success of its originals.

Such an investment could pitch Facebook against Apple, which is reportedly also set to invest US$1 billion in original and acquired programming after its appointment of US studio and network veteran Matt Cherniss and two Sony executives, Jamie Erlicht and Zack van Amburg, to head up its programming drive.

According to the Wall Street Journal, citing an unnamed source, last July Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg asked the company’s video executives to look into how Facebook would fare if it spent sums comparable to Netflix on original video. While the exercise led to the conclusion that such a strategy would not play to the company’s strengths, but Zuckerberg’s ‘video-first’ strategy remains in place.

According to the Journal, Facebook is also looking to strike deals with record labels to secure rights to play music in the background of videos that users upload. The paper says that the social media giant is willing to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to secure the rights, following an intensification of talks last year.

Two weeks ago Facebook struck a deal with Discovery to create a slate of original shows for the platform. The deal will see Discovery develop “premium mid-form shows” for Facebook Watch, the new platform for episodic programming recently developed by the social network.