Facebook Tries Video Again, This Time Scripted

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Photo: Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images

After its attempt to pay publishers to generate #content for Facebook Live burned bright and fast, Facebook is trying to reinvigorate its video product once again with a slate of taped programs from publishers like BuzzFeed and Vox. According to Reuters, the social network has struck deals with a number of online publishers producing scripted programs to rival offerings on platforms like Snapchat and YouTube Red (and more traditional online TV outlets like Netflix and Hulu).

Reuters reports that “Facebook is planning two tiers of video entertainment: scripted shows with episodes lasting 20 to 30 minutes, which it will own; and shorter scripted and unscripted shows with episodes lasting about 5 to 10 minutes, which Facebook will not own.” CEO Mark Zuckerberg said months ago that bolstering the video offerings with professionally produced content was key to keeping users coming back.

The tier of longer content is likely to fall into the generic “prestige TV” format that many streaming services are producing these days, while the shorter-form content might not differ much from what sites like BuzzFeed and Vox already produce. In a sense, Facebook is directly funding these sites’ video operations — and presumably, retaining exclusivity of whatever they fund for a period of time. It makes far more sense than Facebook’s last plan for funding Live videos, a period in which the platform and content creators struggled to justify why certain content benefited from being live at all.

Facebook Tries Video Again, This Time Scripted