With so many tech firms and media giants entering the already-crowded world of streaming video services, many companies are now scrambling to grab a piece of the pie before it’s all gone. Just this week, a new contender has thrown their name into the ring, and it might be one you wouldn’t expect: Facebook.
Facebook’s new service will be called “Facebook TV” and like its big-name rivals like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu, Facebook TV will offer original scripted content. Some of these series and films will be feature-length and will boast studio-sized budgets, while other programs will be much shorter and will renew daily.
Facebook already has a Live Video feature which allows users to live-stream video from their computers or mobile devices. Facebook’s Live Video has been in and out of headlines over the last year due to the abnormally high numbers of users who have live streamed crimes, some of them violent. Could Facebook TV be an attempt to draw attention away from those controversies? It’s possible, although Facebook is taking their new streaming video service in a vastly different direction.
In a conference call with investors, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg stated that the revenue model of Facebook TV will not be based on paid subscriptions like some of its established rivals, but will instead be based on advertising. With some big-name start-up content at launch, Zuckerberg hopes to draw enough viewers for the ad-based revenue share to keep Facebook TV a self-sustaining venture:
The goal is going to be creating some anchor content initially that helps people learn that the video tab [is] a great destination where they can explore, and come to Facebook with the intent to watch the videos that they want. And then the long-term goal is actually not to be paying for specific content like that, but doing a revenue share model once the whole economy around video on Facebook is built up.
Facebook TV still doesn’t have an official launch date, but Zuckerberg has suggested it will likely be mid-June 2017.