Facebook Landing More Original Web Series

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By Mike Shields

More content companies are starting to produce original Web series designed specifically for distribution on Facebook.

The Young Turks, a progressive-leaning news organization that has built a sizable following on YouTube following a brief run on Current TV, on Monday will launch “Final Judgment,” an original five-days-a-week series created for Facebook.

The short-form show will feature Turks pundit co-founder Cenk Uygur giving his take on the big story of the day, “whether it’s Bill Cosby or the Seahawks,” Mr. Uygur said. The Young Turks plans to post the show to Facebook around 8:00 p.m.

Episodes of “Final Judgment” will also simultaneously  be posted to The Young Turks’ YouTube channel, which has close to 2 million subscribers and has generated over 1.7 billion views. But the show is designed to be “Facebook centric,” said The Young Turks Chief Operating Officer Steve Oh. Facebook and The Young Turks conceived of the show together, he added.

The Young Turks–like many creators in the Web video space–has been actively testing uploading videos directly to Facebook for the past several months. “YouTube has been a phenomenal home for us,” said Mr. Uygur. “But I’ve never seen video views pile up as quickly as on Facebook. All other platforms are dinking and dunking.”

Ok, but isn’t that because Facebook videos play automatically in people’s news feeds, rather than playing when somebody clicks on a video, like say on YouTube? True. But according to Mr. Oh, Facebook is able to provide data on how many people watch videos for just a few seconds, and how many people watch videos for more than 30 seconds. “Both numbers have been growing at an astronomical scale.”

Facebook says it now delivers 3 billion video views a day, 65% of which occur on mobile devices. Plus, it’s audience has a high propensity to share what it likes, said Mr. Oh.

The Young Turks won’t generate any revenue from the Facebook videos. “Final Judgment” isn’t running any ads. For now the company will focus on developing its Facebook audience and worry about monetizing it later. (The Young Turks does generate ad dollars on YouTube.)

The National Football League recently kicked off a video distribution initiative on Facebook that includes Verizon ads that run after short clips. Mr. Oh said that Young Turks and Facebook have discussed ads that would run in the middle of clips or at their conclusion, or even banners at the bottom third of the Facebook video player. He’s sure about one thing: “Pre-roll ads in your news feed would be a disaster,” he said.

Other companies have also been giving Facebook first crack at new shows. For example, as of December, ABC News posts a daily, original short news video to Facebook called“The One Thing.” And just last week, “Access Hollywood” introduced a daily Web series,“Early Access on Facebook.”

Check this out at The Wall Street Journal.

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