Facebook launching ad-powered premium original TV content for free

Further, the report notes that the company has plans to premiere the shows in mid-June.

Facebook considers scripted video in high-quality programming as a vital tool that can help in retaining users. Snapchat continues to attract young users to its youth-centric show deals for the Discover section. "A concern among partners is that Facebook executives have yet to explain why people will seek out longer shows in the Facebook app's video tab", said a Facebook executive quoted in the Business Insider report. The premier tier would have shows similar to those on primetime TV, with longer run times and higher production values.

The announcement came from CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a Facebook post on Wednesday. Facebook has hired Ricky Van Veen, co-founder of CollegeHumor, to handle its original acquisitions. Currently, Facebook has nearly two billion users.

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The full lineup of original programming is still indefinite, but Facebook has reportedly greenlit a virtual reality dating program by Conde Nast Entertainment, where individuals meet VR-style before meeting in real life, according to Business Insider, citing a source who refused to be named. One agency has already attached an A-list Hollywood star to a show, according to a person familiar with the talks.

"But (Facebook) decided to instead make the debut in time for the Cannes Lions advertising festival, which starts on June 17", the report said. The new shows will be supported by ads and available for anyone to watch, instead of living in YouTube's $9.99-a-month subscription service.

But Facebook isn't the only tech organization that wants to provide its audience with premium TV shows.

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Facebook announced it will hire 3,000 people over the next year to review flagged videos after a series of murders were broadcast live.

Martin Garner, an analyst at CCS Insight, said: "It's now clear that last year's stellar results from Facebook represented the peak of online advertising growth, as Facebook had warned".

Back in December, rumours started flying that Facebook was looking to follow Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix into the original content game. The video giant has already been growing the original content library for its YouTube Red service, which provides ad-free YouTube and a music service for $10 per month.

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