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Facebook may shift its focus away from live video and onto original shows

Why it matters to you

Facebook's latest plan to get you to spend more time on its social network is to offer original programming in the vein of Netflix.

Facebook is reportedly not planning on renewing its Live Video deals with publishers. Instead the company is focusing on longer, premium video content.

Facebook struck a number of live-streaming partnerships last spring, a few months after the launch of its Live Video tool. At the time, it was estimated the company had spent $50 million on deals with publishers, including CNN, The New York Times, and BuzzFeed, among others.

However, the company is now playing down Live Video in its talks with publishers, with some telling Recode that they do not expect their initial one-year content deals to be renewed.

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Facebook’s pursuit of premium video content came to light last month. The company has reportedly tapped video exec Ricky Van Veen (co-founder of internet video publisher College Humor) to license original shows from TV studios, and other professional content producers. If Facebook is planning to turn its video tab into a source for original programming (in the vein of Netflix), then it has to be willing to fork out billions instead of millions.

While long-form content should be easy to produce for the types of content-makers Facebook is courting, it isn’t associated with the digital publishers it tapped to create live-streams.

So, what will happen to the likes of BuzzFeed, Vox Media, and CNN if the Facebook News Feed and video tab becomes home to original scripted shows, and sports broadcasts? Well, according to Recode, the publishers it spoke to aren’t interested in extending the deals themselves. Despite Facebook offering The New York Times and BuzzFeed upwards of $3 million for content, the smaller deals it was offering other publishers simply weren’t enough to cover operating costs. As a result, a number of publishers claim they will now scale back their Live Video efforts. Facebook declined to comment on the news.

Regardless of the report, there is still some incentive for publishers to create Facebook live-streams. Earlier this month, the platform announced the introduction of mid-roll ads for videos, allowing for broadcasts to be monetized — which means the format won’t be abandoned any time soon. Meanwhile, Facebook itself began promoting Live Video with the launch of a massive marketing campaign last year in the hope that it would spark more interest in its live-streaming tool.