If you asked me what to watch, and I told you to go watch Facebook, you’d probably think I was sassing about zoning out on cat videos or posts from people you’ve never met about how darling their children are. But in a few months, watching Facebook might well be a full-on thing.
It’s coming a little late in the game, with digital players such as Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu already having gained viewer traction and Apple already having started up, but the social networking company is planning to produce original TV shows, according to the Wall Street Journal. The age of Too Much TV is about to get Too Much-ier.
The budgets for the shows may run as high as $3 million per episode, and the target audience will be viewers ages 13 to 34 — not coincidentally the ages of viewers who are most likely to cut the cable cord. Also, the company is telling people in the industry, particularly those at major talent agencies, that it wants to stay away from series about kids and politics, newscasts, and shows with nudity.
So what will Facebook TV look like? The forthcoming channel has already lined up “Strangers,” a millennial relationship drama that premiered earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival. It’s about a woman who cheats on her boyfriend with a woman, and finds herself in some identity chaos — while a variety of characters rent her spare bedroom through Airbnb. Also in the plan: a game show called “Last State Standing” and a revival of “Loosely Exactly Nicole,” a comedy starring Nicole Byer as a wannabe comic in LA that was canceled after one season on MTV.
Facebook shows will run for 30 minutes or less, and there will be ads. Also, the shows will drop episode by episode, week by week, like Hulu (and unlike Amazon and Netflix, which drop their shows a season at a time). For Facebook, that approach makes a lot of sense, since it can cultivate social interactions about episodes of its own shows.
Netflix has designed many of its series based on the data it has about its subscribers’ habits and tastes. Let’s see how Facebook uses its information, which is probably excessively detailed, since it has access to just about everything its users do, want to do, have done, think, say, and regret saying.Matthew Gilbert can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewGilbert.