One of the more high-profile battlegrounds amongst tech giants these days, oddly enough, doesn’t even involve technology. On the contrary, a number of tech behemoths have signaled their intention to get into the business of developing original TV programming. Apple’s interest in developing original content is of course no big secret, and now comes word that Facebook is also interested in throwing its hat into the mix.
According to a new report from The Wall Street Journal, Facebook not only has its eyes set on churning out original TV programming, but is actually hoping to have something ready to go as early as this summer. The social networking giant is said to be in negotiations with a handful of Hollywood studios in order to bring its TV ambitions to reality. And speaking to the seriousness of Facebook’s plans, the company is reportedly willing to sign off on productions that cost as much as $3 million per episode. As a point of reference, the average cost per episode of Mad Men was $3 million while the average cost of a Game of Thrones episode falls somewhere in the $6 million range.
The push for TV shows is part of a two-track effort at Facebook to up its game in video and target the tens of billions of ad dollars spent on television.
Facebook also is seeking short-form content, primarily unscripted, that could run for 10 minutes in the Spotlight section for videos, the people familiar with the matter say.
One of the more interesting aspects of Facebook’s strategy is that it is reportedly willing to “share viewership data” with Hollywood studios, something Netflix is notoriously averse to doing.
All in all, Facebook’s exploration of producing original programming isn’t all that surprising. Indeed, the success Amazon has had with its own slate of award-winning original programming clearly demonstrates that even non-traditional media companies can make a big splash in the entertainment industry if they hire the right people to develop quality content.