Content sellers are reportedly skeptical of Facebook’s intentions around buying TV series even as the social network is reportedly prepping a $1 billion budget for shows.
According to Hollywood Reporter, it comes down to communication.
“If they know what they want, they're doing a bad job messaging it. No one is clamoring to be at Facebook,” an unnamed development executive told the publication.
In August, Facebook unveiled its new Watch platform, which will combine programming from partners like A+E Networks and the MLB along with community-sourced content that can be monetized through ad revenue sharing and sponsorships. Daniel Danker, product director for Facebook, said last month at IBC in Amsterdam that Watch is in its early days and that the programming strategy is still somewhat experimental.
“We’re seeding the ecosystem for areas where content and community can come together,” said Danker, adding that it’s about learning what works best on the platform and sharing that information with creators and publishers.
Most recently, Facebook signed a multiyear programming deal with the NFL for game highlights and recaps, as well as recurring series. It’s unclear how much that deal cost Facebook, but the company has reportedly earmarked up to $1 billion over the next year or so to spend on video content.
According to the report, Facebook could be willing to spend up to $3 million for dramas but much less for short-form content.
Elsewhere in the Hollywood Reporter’s rundown of big content players is relatively new entrant Apple, which reportedly has a $1 billion content war chest to match Facebook’s. Apple is reportedly looking to land a big prestige drama like “Game of Thrones,” but for content sellers, questions still abound regarding Apple’s distribution plans and deal structures.