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Facebook May Unveil VR Dating Show, Other Originals at Cannes Lions (Report)

Variety logo Variety 5/5/2017 Janko Roettgers
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Facebook is getting ready to unveil a slate of professionally-produced serialized long-form shows, according to a Business Insider report. These titles reportedly a VR dating show that is being produced by Condé Nast Entertainment, as well as other properties that have A-list celebrities attached to them.

The social networking company may use the Cannes Lions advertising festival next month to officially introduce its new video initiative, which is part of the company’s efforts to turn its apps into destinations for video viewing. However, one source told Business Insider that the company may delay the date of the announcement.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told analysts on the company’s Q1 earnings call earlier this week that it was looking to develop “some anchor content” for Facebook’s new video tab, which it introduced last month.

CFO David Wehner further hinted at content investments during that same call, saying: “We are looking at kickstarting an ecosystem for longer-form content on Facebook.” However, Wehner also said that the majority of the costs for this new initiative may not hit Facebook’s balance sheets until after 2017, suggesting that it may only ramp up in earnest next year.

Business Insider reported Thursday that Facebook is looking to produce or license two types of shows: Longer, TV-like serials with a production value that could match that of ABC’s “Scandal” or even Netflix’s “House of Cards,” and shorter, snackable shows that may see new episodes every day. The show developed with Condé Nast sets couples up to date in virtual reality before they get to meet in real life, according to the report.

With these plans, Facebook is clearly competing with YouTube, which announced its own new content investments at its Brandcast event in New York this week. At the event, Google’s video service revealed new shows from original series come from Kevin Hart, Ellen DeGeneres, singer Demi Lovato, YouTube comedy duo Rhett & Link (of talk show “Good Mythical Morning”), Ryan Seacrest, and YouTube’s the Slow Mo Guys.

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