Facebook buys news shows from ABC, Fox News, CNN and more

CNN
CNN's Anderson Cooper and Fox News' Shepard Smith are two of the big names showing up for Facebook Watch. (Josh Hallett/Flickr)

Facebook has confirmed plans to buy news programming for its Facebook Watch platform, partnering with ABC News, CNN, Fox News and others.

Facebook is also teaming up with Univision, local news publisher Advance Local, as well as digital media companies ATTN: and Mic, according to Variety. The shows are coming this summer and will include live news and long-form series.

Facebook is paying for the shows for up to one year.

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The first seven shows are ABC News’s “On Location,” Advance Local’s “Chasing Corruption," ATTN:’s “Undivided ATTN:,” CNN’s “Anderson Cooper Full Circle,” Fox News’ “Fox News Update,” Mic’s “Mic Dispatch,” and Univision’s “Real America with Jorge Ramos.”

RELATED: Facebook closing in on program deals with Fox News, CNN, WSJ reports

The programming announcement confirms a report last week from the Wall Street Journal.

Campbell Brown, head of global news partnerships at Facebook, told Variety that there will be ad breaks in the news shows and that over time the ideal outcome would be for the programs to become self-sustaining.

The fact that Facebook is paying for the news programs as a way of incentivizing publishers to come to the Watch platform seemingly confirms that true monetization for video on Facebook is still a work in progress. But Facebook has been candid about Watch still being in the experimentation phase.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said during his company’s earnings call Wednesday that part of the growth strategy for Watch is building in social features that allow audiences to better connect with content and other users. Specifically, he mentioned Watch Party, a new feature that lets groups of users watch videos at the same time and interact.

“So what we're seeing so far is that a bunch of the content that has come onto Watch is good and is working and people watch it. We're continuing to treat the product to emphasize that kind of content more while building more of these social features,” said Zuckerberg, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript. “I'd say it's still pretty early overall in terms of the growth of this, but it's clearly an area that's important where I think we have something unique that we're going to bring to make this successful.”

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