Facebook has become the latest tech giant to start developing its own TV-style video shows for distribution online.
This is according to a report on the Reuters website, which says the social media network with about 2 trillion users has signed deals with content creators Vox Media, Buzzfeed, ATTN, Group Nine Media and others.
“Facebook wants these shows for their ‘Video’ tab, specifically on their mobile app, where they are increasingly emphasising video,” says Reuters video correspondent David Ingram.
Reuters says Facebook is planning to offer two tiers of video entertainment: scripted shows with episodes lasting 20 to 30 minutes, which it will own; and shorter scripted and unscripted shows with episodes lasting about 5 to 10 minutes, which Facebook will not own.
The news agency speculates that that Facebook is making this move to acquire and license original content in order to earn more advertising revenue.
Plus, it wants to compete or keep up with Alphabet, which owns Google, which owns YouTube, which has launched a TV services and is planning 40 TV-style shows for its YouTube Red service.
YouTube Red is subscription service which is basically YouTube without ads. It costs $10 a month and is currently only available in the US.
It’s not yet known whether, or how much, Facebook will charge for its TV service, nor how it plans to incorporate it into its increasingly large and possibly chaotic website.
Facebook itself has not made any comments about the story.
But Reuters claims some ugly numbers are involved, according to “several sources familiar with the situation”.
In the first tier, Facebook will pay up to $250,000 for these longer, scripted shows. Such shows will be owned by Facebook.
For the second tier, Facebook will pay $10,000 to $35,000 for each show and give creators 55 per cent of ad revenue.
Ads will be included with shows in both tiers.
Business analysts had predicted that Facebook harboured big ambitions for its video tab as far back as last year.
Morgan Stanley issued a research note, published on Business Insider, which said Facebook is likely to capture a greater share of the TV ad market.
Morgan Stanley said: “This is because agencies/advertisers we speak with indicate that one of the reasons TV ad dollars have still not moved to Facebook very quickly is because video posts and ads in the primary Facebook newsfeed are too fragmented (among the many other types of posts). And that (unlike YouTube) Facebook has not offered a destination solely designed to drive video consumption.”