As social media continues to grow and develop, Facebook is looking to evolve. Younger users are increasingly interested in newer, more visually-oriented social media sites and apps, like Instagram and Snapchat. One of the original social networking giants, Facebook is now looking to shift focus, and find ways to grow in a changing market. Recent developments have included pushes toward "authentic" content and changes to the algorithms that promote pages and posts in the news feed.
The next move for Facebook is to shift focus to more video content, with news that the site is even developing an app for set-top boxes, potentially bringing it into direct competition with streaming giant Netflix.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the social network is currently developing the video-centric app as a way to push a new focus on video content. The app would be used for both live video and scripted content, and Facebook is already working on creating their own original content. The site is reportedly "in discussions with media companies to license long-form, TV-quality programming," and has been emphasizing high-quality video content in general.
This shift in focus for the site comes at a time when Facebook wants to find ways to push more video advertising -- as video and TV ads are significantly more profitable than text advertising. It also comes as Netflix works to expand their original programming, finding huge success in partnerships with Marvel and with the multi-award-winning Stranger Things. As television viewers increasingly look to stream their shows and films, rather than rely on cable packages, the creation of original content could mark a move for Facebook from traditional social media to a more entertainment-focused model. The new set-top box app would allow the site itself to make more money with video advertising, as well as provide a new way for users to watch live sporting events and news, as well as new original content.
This could be huge news for the social network. The success of Netflix's original programming also shows how profitable and popular original content development can be. If Facebook is able to create a similarly high-quality platform, they could become real competition for the streaming site -- especially as their video content would potentially be paid for with advertising, rather than subscription. 'Free' content on a platform that already has so many members seems like a no-brainer.
However, there could also be some big issues with this move. The creation of original content is also not cheap, and if Facebook is going to compete with Netflix, they would need to spend a lot on something that may not appeal to users interested in a purely social experience. The competition is huge, with Netflix dominating the high-quality original content market, and other video sites like YouTube cornering user-created videos. Facebook may find that an emphasis on live video that has been doing well so far is the best way to ease into a more Netflix-style platform.
It's also important to remember that this is all still in development right now, but Screen Rant keep you updated if and when Facebook announces an official move into original programming.
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