A number of media companies are skeptical of Facebook’s commitment to original programming, Digiday reports.
As explained previously, Facebook is paying up to $250,000 per episode on a small slate of long-form content, which it will own outright, and between $10,000-$40,000 per episode on a wider swathe of short-form content, which creators will retain the rights to and be able to redistribute one to two weeks after debuting on Facebook.
Media partners describe Facebook as being “hands off” with the short-form content it’s buying, although the social platform is more involved with longer-form shows. Their reservations about Facebook’s original video plans are summarized below:
- Sacrificing quality for speed. There’s a perception that Facebook is less involved in the interest of speed — in other words, Facebook is more focused on signing big name partners rather than securing quality video programming, in order launch its portal of original video as quickly as possible.
- Worries of low viewership. The fear is that Facebook users aren’t used to visiting the video tab for a ‘lean back’ experience. Facebook’s still working out the user experience for this content, which is why it delayed the launch of original videos to this summer.
- Residual angst from Facebook Live. Some of these concerns stem from last year when Facebook paid close to 140 media companies were paid to produce live video. Some of these videos attracted tiny audiences, and certain publishers said the effort wasn’t worthwhile, even with Facebook funding.
That said, Facebook’s relaxed attitude to vetting short-form originals isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Some creators will appreciate the freedom to experiment with programming and iterate without a domineering presence above them. However, those companies that haven’t been recruited by Facebook will, of course, rue the idea that they’ve missed out not on the basis of merit (and the quality of their ideas) but because they’re not a household name in media.
It’s also interesting to note that difference between Facebook and Snap’s approach to original video. Snap is much more involved. As highlighted last week in another Digiday article, Snap will pilot shows before approving them for a full season, and the company can also weigh in at all stages of production from brainstorming ideas, to graphics, graphics and more. Facebook, on the other hand, will order full seasons of short-form shows without ever piloting them, and may leave publishers entirely to their own devices during the show’s development.
Over the last few years, there’s been much talk about the “death of TV.” However, television is not dying so much as it’s evolving: extending beyond the traditional television screen and broadening to include programming from new sources accessed in new ways.
It’s strikingly evident that more consumers are shifting their media time away from live TV, while opting for services that allow them to watch what they want, when they want. Indeed, we are seeing a migration toward original digital video such as YouTube Originals, SVOD services such as Netflix, and live streaming on social platforms.
However, not all is lost for legacy media companies. Amid this rapidly shifting TV landscape, traditional media companies are making moves across a number of different fronts — trying out new distribution channels, creating new types of programming aimed at a mobile-first audience, and partnering with innovate digital media companies. In addition, cable providers have begun offering alternatives for consumers who may no longer be willing to pay for a full TV package.
Dylan Mortensen, senior research analyst for BI Intelligence, has compiled a detailed report on the future of TV that looks at how TV viewer, subscriber, and advertising trends are shifting, and where and what audiences are watching as they turn away from traditional TV.
Here are some key points from the report:
- Increased competition from digital services like Netflix and Hulu as well as new hardware to access content are shifting consumers’ attention away from live TV programming.
- Across the board, the numbers for live TV are bad. US adults are watching traditional TV on average 18 minutes fewer per day versus two years ago, a drop of 6%. In keeping with this, cable subscriptions are down, and TV ad revenue is stagnant.
- People are consuming more media content than ever before, but how they’re doing so is changing. Half of US TV households now subscribe to SVOD services, like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu, and viewing of original digital video content is on the rise.
- Legacy TV companies are recognizing these shifts and beginning to pivot their business models to keep pace with the changes. They are launching branded apps and sites to move their programming beyond the TV glass, distributing on social platforms to reach massive, young audiences, and forming partnerships with digital media brands to create new content.
- The TV ad industry is also taking a cue from digital. Programmatic TV ad buying represented just 4% (or $2.5 billion) of US TV ad budgets in 2015 but is expected to grow to 17% ($10 billion) by 2019. Meanwhile, networks are also developing branded TV content, similar to publishers’ push into sponsored content.
In full, the report:
- Outlines the shift in consumer viewing habits, specifically the younger generation.
- Explores the rise of subscription streaming services and the importance of original digital video content.
- Breaks down ways in which legacy media companies are shifting their content and advertising strategies.
- And Discusses new technology that will more effectively measure audiences across screens and platforms.