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Facebook Launches Initiative To Fund Scripted And Unscripted Videos

Deadline logo Deadline 12/14/2016 David Lieberman
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Facebook will find it harder to insist that it’s not a media company after it acknowledged today that it plans to license TV shows from studios and producers, part of a broad effort to bulk up on video to attract audiences and advertisers.

This is the biggest outside initiative yet for Ricky Van Veen, who moved from IAC to Facebook in June to become its head of global creative strategy.

“Earlier this year, we started rolling out the Video tab, a dedicated place for video on Facebook,” he says. “Our goal is to kickstart an ecosystem of partner content for the tab, so we’re exploring funding some seed video content, including original and licensed scripted, unscripted, and sports content, that takes advantage of mobile and the social interaction unique to Facebook. Our goal is to show people what is possible on the platform and learn as we continue to work with video partners around the world.”

The company didn’t say how much it’s budgeting for the original videos.

Up to now, the social media company has focused on live and shared videos including many about the summer Olympics and the presidential election.  It has experimented with short ad breaks to see what combinations appeal to buyers without alienating viewers.

“When we think about video ads and what platform they run on, we really believe that over time the dollars will shift with eyeballs, and our goal is to be the best dollar and the best minute people spend measured across channels,” COO Sheryl Sandberg told analysts last month.

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