Facebook’s latest tactic? Copy Snapchat again, of course

26 Jun 2017

Facebook. Image: easy camera/Shutterstock

Facebook is rumoured to be planning for its own scripted shows, joining a growing movement of tech giants entering the entertainment fray.

The Facebook-owned Instagram copied Snapchat’s Stories tool. Not long after, the Facebook-owned WhatsApp did something similar.

Now, the Facebook-owned Facebook is copying Snachat’s plans to create its own scripted content, bringing TV-show quality to the mobile screen.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Facebook is engaged in talks with several Hollywood studios and agencies.

The plan is to create dedicated TV-quality content, “with an eye toward launching original programming by late summer”.

The report details a budget of $3m per episode of any show, with the standard target of 17-30-year-olds fitting into the company’s standard revenue model.

The company has already lined up Strangers, a relationship drama, and Last State Standing, a game-show, the report said.

If this sounds at all familiar, it’s probably due to Snap, the owner of Snapchat, getting in on this action only one week ago.

A broad partnership between Snap and Time Warner will see the latter create up to 10 original shows for the Snapchat app, with Turner and Warner Bros set to commission scripted drama and comedies.

The new deal may ultimately see Time Warner’s premium network, HBO, develop shows for the app, which would be a surprise, as its audience and Snapchat’s demographics aren’t exactly identical.

Snapcat’s shows tend to max out at around five minutes, with the platform appealing to a younger user base and, therefore, threatening established media companies.

Valued at around $100m, the two-year deal will be an interesting test into how quality content can be packaged into shorter segments than traditionally consumed.

Of course, it’s not just Snapchat and, inevitably, Facebook going down this route, with Apple recruiting Sony talent recently to orchestrate its video programming efforts.

Meanwhile last month, just two years after it was founded, Oculus Story Studio was shut by Facebook.

In a blog post, Oculus VR’s vice-president of content, Jason Rubin, said it was best to work with content from outside the company, rather than making anything in-house.

“We’re now entering the next chapter of VR development, where new creators enter the market in anticipation of adoption and growth, and we’ve been looking at the best way to allocate our resources to create an impact on the ecosystem,” he said.

“After careful consideration, we’ve decided to shift our focus away from internal content creation to support more external production.”

Facebook. Image: easy camera/Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic