Is This A Good Thing? Facebook Eyes Long-Form Content

I’ve always heard competition makes sectors grow and makes things better. I don’t know if I agree.

Today, I read that Facebook wants to jump into the content business in a big way, creating an app that would appear on Apple TV. Instead of the bite size pieces of content Facebook now dishes, the new enterprise would make major program acquisitions, probably plotting some live events.

It certainly has the brand name, and a pretty handy platform to market and promote itself.

The “video-first” Facebook app would make it possible to put video content from the social network on to the big screen. While you could do that with short stuff Facebook now puts there, it is looking to advertising opportunities and producing its own television-program like material.

I don’t know.

The OTT world is still new enough that there is no good consumer name for it.  As it gets more crowded and expands to new markets, it may be setting a world record for rapid dumbing down. Netflix, for example says that it will unleash 20 reality projects this year alone, including global competition series, “Ultimate Beastmaster,” produced by Sylvester Stallone and “The Biggest Loser” EP Dave Broome.

For Netflix to announce, proudly no less, a big jump into the reality pool is like a Michelin three-star restaurant proudly announcing a special menu packed with artificial ingredients available at a new drive-thru window.

That’s what competition and expansion into the world market does. Per Variety, Netflix’s Ted Sarandos said two exclusive Netflix comedies from Adam Sandler have been the No. 1 performing titles everywhere in the world.” I rest my case.

The more content source and the bigger the audience, you’d say, the better. It seems to me, that’s not the way it works.

On cable, for example, before there were more and more cable channels, the ones that existed were actually better at doing the things you subscribed to cable to see. Once, the Arts & Entertainment Channel was arty, and so was Bravo. The History Channel did real history. The Learning Channel was aptly named, so much so that when it broadened out to stay competitive, it seemingly became ashamed of itself and went by a new alias, TLC. 

There are 1.79 billion Facebook users worldwide. If and when Facebook enters the longer-form content business — and carries advertising — its ability to create stupendous worldwide hits would only be reduced if it did something a too intelligent for the world stage. It would be stupid to be that smart.

3 comments about "Is This A Good Thing? Facebook Eyes Long-Form Content".
Check to receive email when comments are posted.
  1. J S from Ideal Living Media, February 1, 2017 at 3:21 p.m.

    Recently, I started regularly seeing people Facebook Live-casting movies of interest to the target demo. Star Wars fans showing original versions of the films, etc. Not only do they bring in lots of followers, and specific likes to the highly visible Live-casts, viewers send out emojis which float across the movie, expressing their emotions or sympathy with the characters on screen. 

    This will become huge. 

  2. Chris Peterson from Rain the Growth Agency, February 2, 2017 at 6:45 p.m.

    Facebook, with its massive audience, can make a new OTT app widely used very fast once they optimze content. Advertisers will flock if they can better reach a younger demo than live linear. Hulu's ad-supported platform is growing like weeds for the same reason. But Hulu has to pay a lot to get a new subscriber and has high churn rates. For Facebook, new users will cost almost nothing. 

  3. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, February 2, 2017 at 7:11 p.m.

    Chis, any advertiser who does some basic homework knows that young adults spend more time watching "linear TV" than with all of the digital video venues combined and by a clear margin. They also know that by being selective they can attain massive short term reach using TV---not by buying  very older skewed CBS primetime but by using combinations of broadcast options---the CW network, off-network sitcom reruns via syndication, plus many cable channels---MTV, Comedy Central, VH1, SyFi, E!, etc.The truth is that Facebook does not have a lock on the younger market. If it intends to become a major TV/video ad player, it must develop a considerable amount of quality content that provides the kind of environment advertisers want as platforms for their commercials. In addition, FB must have its audience stats audited by independent parties and it must demonstrate the ability of its content and ad placement within said content to generate ad awareness and motivating impact. Finally, it's CPM pricing must be competitive to TV---not primetime broadcast network TV--- but  the younger oriented TV channels and not just for primetime but all dayparts. Last but not least, advertisers aren't interested in FB's "massive" audience unless it can be proven that this translates to massive reach for their ad schedules. In short, nobody is "flocking" anywhere. To get a lot of TV ad dollars---branding not direct response dollars---FB and other digital TV ad sellers must prepare for a long haul effort where they earn the support of advertisers rather than trying to stampede them into deserting "linear TV" because it can no longer deliver the goods. It can----to make inroads, digital must do better.

Next story loading loading..