Facebook Moving Ahead With Original TV

Following moves by Apple and YouTube to invest in programming that competes with that of traditional networks, Facebook is reportedly the next digital heavyweight to try its hand at the scripted TV game.

Facebook is in talks with Hollywood studios with a view to producing scripted TV quality shows that could be available as soon as the summer.

One of Facebook's first original shows will be Last State Standing, which sees one contestant from each of the 50 U.S. states competing together in games for US$500,000 in prize money.

Facebook also thought to be interested in short-form content, primarily unscripted, that could run for 10 minutes in the Spotlight section for videos. The Journal also corroborated an earlier report that Facebook has ordered the reality competition series Last State Standing, from the producers of American Ninja Warrior. 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. However, the one thing which will not change will be Facebook's commitment to owning as much of the content as possible.

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Perhaps mindful of ongoing criticism around the platform's role in the spread of fake news and its stance on moderation, Facebook will apparently seek to nip any controversy in the bud by avoiding hard subjects like news and politics, as well as banning nudity and foul language.

The company is also open to hosting other, less costly episodes. The company says it is willing to share viewership data with Hollywood, a stark contrast to peers.

"We're funding these shows directly now, but over time we want to help lots of creators make videos funded through revenue sharing products like Ad Break", said Nick Grudin, the vice president of media partnerships. Facebook is a popular online social networking service. Earlier this month, Apple hired Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg, the former co-heads of Sony Pictures Television to oversee its video programming unit.

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