Facebook Willing to Spend $3m Per Episode on Original, Clean, Non-Political Video (Jun 26, 2017)
The key part of this article many seem to have picked up on is the sheer amount of money Facebook is willing to spend on securing original video content – up to $3 million an episode, which is comparable to big-budget cable TV shows. And that’s certainly interesting, though it’s not yet clear just how much content Facebook is willing to commission at that cost level. However, in some ways more interesting is the nature of the content Facebook wants to commission: “Facebook has told people it wants to steer clear of shows about children and young teens as well as political dramas, news and shows with nudity and rough language.” In other words, this isn’t going to be the kind of content the other big original content spenders have focused on, which I’ve pointed out has tended to be mostly rated TV-MA. That’s a reflection of a tricky issue Facebook is going to have to deal with, which is that since it’s not explicitly a video platform, people’s expectations of what they find there are going to be different from, say, Netflix or Amazon. Given the recent controversy over Facebook’s role in elections, politics and news are obviously out to avoid any sense of editorializing, but given Facebook’s existing restrictions on content shared on the site (including nudity), it’s got to steer clear of some other forms of content too. And of course with children under 13 technically not allowed to use Facebook, targeting children doesn’t make much sense either. You might say – as a couple of people did to me this morning on Twitter when I tweeted about this – that that doesn’t leave much else for Facebook to show. But of course US broadcast TV has limits on nudity and swearing, and many of the dramas on network TV would comply with these restrictions and do just fine. And this could actually help set Facebook apart as the original video content hub which prioritizes cleaner stuff.
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