Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) has been saying for years that it is a tech company, not a media company. And it could get away with that, barely, because the company had been only been providing a platform for content which belonged to other media companies. But that is about to change.
Considering the success that Netflix has been having with its original programming, it was only a matter of time before other tech companies began to follow suit. Amazon wasn’t far behind, and has been achieving both critical and commercial success with its offerings. So it isn’t completely surprising that Facebook would want to cash in on a similar revenue stream.
In fact, the writing was on the wall when the company debuted Facebook Live. Further grist for the mill was provided by rumors of a possible app that would work with existing television boxes like Apple TV.
In any case, Facebook has now hired former MTV executive Mina Lefevre to lead development of the new division. In addition to her role as Executive Vice-President at MTV, Lefevre was also in charge of scripted programming. At Facebook, however, she will oversee the development of both scripted and unscripted content.
Original programming will offer Facebook new opportunity for paid advertising. Given the network’s nearly 2 billion users every month, that could add up to a significant increase to the company’s bottom line.
Facebook hired College Humor co-founder Ricky Van Veen recently, and he’s outlined what the plan will be going forward:
“Earlier this year, we started rolling out the Video tab, a dedicated place for video on Facebook. Our goal is to kickstart an ecosystem of partner content for the tab, so we’re exploring funding some seed video content, including original and licensed scripted, unscripted, and sports content, that takes advantage of mobile and the social interaction unique to Facebook. Our goal is to show people what is possible on the platform and learn as we continue to work with video partners around the world.”
All that’s left is to see if the plan works.