The social media giant Facebook joins Apple in the quest for a piece of the entertainment streaming pie.
The premier network for sending impersonal birthday wishes to people you don’t really like is eyeing the digital entertainment scene, to the tune of a one billion dollar investment. But, rather than pursue premium independent content exclusively, a la streaming behemoth Netflix, Zuckerberg’s empire hopes to create a YouTube-esque platform where anyone can publish, in exchange for 55 percent of whatever ad revenue Facebook makes on the content.
Facebook is already streaming content, including Major League Baseball games. The social media network will soon feature Major League Soccer, and is coming in on the bleeding edge of the growing e-sports scene via the ESL. Twitter and Amazon have thwarted attempts to scoop up the NFL, but it hasn’t dissuaded Facebook. Their “Watch” content skews toward YouTube style short form shows, and that looks to be the company’s overarching vision for the platform’s expansion.
That $1 billion investment “could fluctuate based on the success of Facebook’s programming,” according to an anonymous source speaking to the Wall Street Journal, and it is unclear whether the sum includes their forays into sports broadcasting. And while Facebook quite obviously has the numbers to make a real attempt at breaking into the web video space, its competitors are already deeply entrenched.
Spotify has recently joined with Hulu to try and upset the cutthroat digital distribution ecosystem, and both are companies who have proven themselves considerably more savvy about emerging markets than Facebook.
Frankly, if Facebook handles streaming the way it has virtual reality, the number of zeroes it writes on the proverbial check really won’t matter.
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