Facebook is actively developing around two dozen television shows with plans to premiere some of them in mid-June, according to a report on Saturday.
The social media company has big-budget marquee shows geared towards a TV audience in the works, alongside a tier of less expensive shows that will span about 5 to 10 minutes, according to sources who spoke to Business Insider.
The news comes amid an apparent frenzy of similar plans by companies like Amazon, Snap, and Apple, as the digital rivals compete for a piece of the emerging online video programming market.
According to the report, Facebook aims to play a more hands-on role in controlling the content that its nearly 2 billion members see on the social network. To this end, the company considers high-quality, scripted video as an important feature that will help it retain users, particularly a younger demographic that spends an increasing amount of time on the rival Snapchat network.
Facebook also hopes to attract big sponsors typically associated with traditional TV networks, but a question hovers over whether users will consider video that autoplays in Facebook’s news feed as a destination for viewing longer-form content.
The report goes on to explain that a virtual reality dating show from Condé Nast is among the content that Facebook has in the pipeline. “A-list celebrities” are said to be in talks to appear in other shows, with one major star already having agreed to a deal.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has referred in the past to his desire to lure users to the social network with “episodic content”. The latest information on the company’s plans comes just a day after YouTube revealed it would be developing free-to-view original content supported by ads.