Now Facebook Is Trying to Be Netflix Too, With Original TV Shows

Stav Ziv
Now Facebook Is Trying to Be Netflix Too, With Original TV Shows

Netflix entered the original content arena in 2013 with two homeruns. The onetime DVD delivery service began streaming House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black within its first year, and both were out-of-the-box hits, offering the first serious challenge to network and cable television. 

In the years since, other companies have "entered the content space"—most notably Amazon and Hulu—but none have had the success of Netflix. Consider the 2017 Emmy Awards: The studio's shows garnered 91 Emmy nominations, second only to HBO, and won 20. Hulu and Amazon won 10 and 2 respectively. Hulu’s 10 and Amazon’s two. 

In May, Google-owned announced plans to produce 40 new original somes, some with A-list creators like Kevin Hart and Ellen DeGeneres, and now Facebook is joining the who-will-be-the-next-Netflix contest. The social media network launched its new “Watch” platform in August to a limited group of users and has since begun airing series: The reality series Ball in the Family, which follows Los Angeles Lakers player Lonzo Ball, his parents and his brothers; Humans of New York: The Series, spun off the insanely popular Facebook page and Instagram account; the reality series I Want My Phone Back, in which participants win money by giving up  control over their digital lives; the interactive Win This House!, with former HGTV stars Andy and Candis Meredith; and No Script With Marshawn Lynch, the Oakland Raider running back.

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Based on that eclectic start, Facebook doesn't seem to be angling for award-worthy content. Same goes for the already launched Strangers, a Refinery29 comedy that follows a bisexual 20-something, and the newly picked up Loosely Exactly Nicole—a scripted family comedy  canceled after one season on MTV.

More promising, according toVariety, is the 10-episode series Five Points, about high school students on the South Side of Chicago. The new show, created and written by Adam Giaudrone (Being Mary Jane, Black Lightning), including Kerry Washington as an executive producer. It’s unclear when the series will make its debut.

Facebook might not be challenging Netflix too seriously yet, but the challengers to old school TV are that much closer to burying the old model. 

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