Whilst Facebook’s attentions appear to be largely on their original TV services, estimated to spend up to $1bn producing content in the next year, the platform have given further indication just how big their TV plans seem to be.
Though their $610m bid for five years’ worth of streaming rights of the Indian Premier League, the world’s most popular cricket competition, ultimately failed, it displayed their intentions in the live-streaming sector are nothing short of wildly ambitious.
During Facebook’s first-quarter earnings call earlier this year, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company would try licensing sports games with the goal of “creating some anchor content” that teaches people to think of Facebook as a destination for premium video.
Not only has the bid displayed their very real and clear intentions but it also fires a warning shot to competitors.
Twitter won big in securing the streaming rights to this year’s PGA Tour and have since announced partnerships with a number of high-profile sporting organisations including the NFL. Whilst Snapchat announced their own original content in the pipeline to rival Facebook’s.
Neither though, have anything close to the buying clout that Mark Zuckerberg does and the harrowing reality for his competitors is that money talks and if he really wants to secure these kinds of partnerships, the advantage clearly lies in one place.
Whilst his ‘Watch Hub’ looks set to leave any other social platform in Facebook’s dust, moving on to competing alongside the likes of Netflix and Youtube. Despite the mixed reviews from the US who already have access to the platform, the issues seem to be nothing more than a few minor inconveniences that should be easily ironed out.
If targets for the platform even come close to being met, combining such a service with live sport – popular sport that actually brings in viewing figures, then Facebook will have truly taken a stranglehold of the digital landscape.
Zuckerberg has pumped money into content partnerships previous to this projection, announcing that they’d be working alongside Vox Media and BuzzFeed earlier in the year as well as winning rights to live stream a number of Major League Baseball games. The $1bn announcement suggests a huge hike in plans though, as they match the spend that Apple will be pouring into similar services.
And though the spend won’t match Netflix who will splurge around $6bn this year on content or Amazon, around $4.5bn, Facebook’s spend will almost certainly shoot up depending on the successful rollout of Watch and the sporting partnerships they will almost certainly secure.
All words by Brad Lengden.