Facebook signs BuzzFeed, Vox, others for original video shows

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg speaks during the Alumni Exercises following the 366th Commencement Exercises at Harvard University in Cambridge

NEW YORK, May 24 (Reuters) – Facebook Inc has signed
deals with millennial-focused news and entertainment creators
Vox Media, BuzzFeed, ATTN, Group Nine Media and others to make
shows for its upcoming video service, which will feature long
and short-form content with ad breaks, according to several
sources familiar with the situation.Facebook is planning two tiers of video entertainment:
scripted shows with episodes lasting 20 to 30 minutes, which it
will own; and shorter scripted and unscripted shows with
episodes lasting about 5 to 10 minutes, which Facebook will not
own, according to the sources.All of the sources asked to remain anonymous because the
deals are confidential.Facebook’s move to acquire and license original content is
the latest in its push to attract more advertising dollars,
putting the company in head-to-head competition with Alphabet
Inc’s YouTube Red, Snapchat’s Discover
feature, and traditional television networks.It is an attempt to deliver on Facebook Chief Executive Mark
Zuckerberg’s remarks to investors earlier this month that the
company was looking for so-called “anchor content” that would
draw people to the video tab on Facebook’s app.The world’s biggest social media company is set to pay up to
$250,000 for the longer, scripted shows which will be owned by
Facebook, taking a page from a strategy employed successfully by
Netflix Inc and Amazon.com Inc, which both now
own some of the content they sell to subscribers.For the second tier of shorter shows, Facebook will pay
$10,000 to $35,000 for each show and give creators 55 percent of
revenue from ads, the sources said. Ads will run during both the
long-form and short-form shows.A Facebook spokeswoman declined to comment.SELL EXTERNALLYFacebook said in December it would buy original scripted and
unscripted programming for its video service. Earlier this year,
it tapped former MTV executive Mina Lefevre to lead the effort.Facebook currently offers live video from a number of news
publishers as well as its own users. It has begun testing the
water with live sports video in the last few months. Most
recently it signed a deal with Major League Baseball to show 20
games live this season.While Facebook will initially run short-form shows
exclusively on its site, the creators of the content will be
able to run the shows on their own properties after a negotiated
period of time, and will be able to eventually sell them
externally, the sources said.The company is focused on working with news and
entertainment makers that are already active on Facebook and
have a large millennial following. Vox, BuzzFeed, ATTN and Group
Nine Media – the holding company for Thrillist, NowThis and The
Dodo – are all working on short-form content for the new
Facebook service, the sources said.Advertisers are interested in learning more about Facebook’s
service as they see it as another way to get in front of the
growing number of viewers watching their favorite shows on
tablets and smartphones, said Monique Lemus O’Brien, a media
buyer at The Media Kitchen