Facebook is taking its content one step further by meeting with major Hollywood agencies to produce “TV-quality shows” for audiences from 13 to 34, with the aim to start launching its own original series by late summer.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the social media giant is already working with big names as it is willing to commit to production budgets as high as $3 million per episode, meeting the price range of high-end TV shows.
Although Facebook declined to comment on the details of the costly project, Vice President of Media Partnerships, Nick Grudin, said in a statement: “We’re supporting a small group of partners and creators as they experiment with the kinds of shows you can build a community around—from sports to comedy to reality to gaming. We’re focused on episodic shows and helping all our partners understand what works across different verticals and topics.”
It is said that the video content will particularly focus on the 17-to-30 range as it appears to be seeking shows along the lines of ABC’s drama, Pretty Little Liars.
Facebook’s lineup already includes Strangers, a series about discovering yourself in adulthood aimed at millennials, which featured at the Sundance Film Festival and was directed by Girls alumnus, Mia Lidofsky. (Watch the trailer, below.)
The MTV autobiographical comedy series, Loosely Exactly Nicole, about a young Black woman trying to live the Hollywood dream (canceled by the network after only one season), could also be part of the deal, heading to Facebook’s development effort under the supervision of Ricky Van Veen, founder of CollegeHumor.com, who joined the social network last year.
Following this move, Facebook will enter in direct competition with the streaming platforms Netflix, Amazon and Hulu, which have now a pretty large portfolio of original shows, making Mark Zuckerberg’s company quite a late player in the VOD game.
But contrary to the competition, Facebook is expected to spread out the release of its episodes rather than dropping entire seasons at once and will also share with Hollywood its viewership data – something that Netflix and Amazon have never done before. “We’re going to be completely transparent,” an agent from the company said.