A+E Networks released its first show on Facebook’s Watch platform for video programming, “Bae or Bail,” which is a hidden-camera reality show that tests the bonds of couples, according to a statement made available to Mobile Marketer. The first episode, which followed two couples at a pre-staged funeral prank, has received more than 24 million views since its August 30 debut, including 230,000 shares and 35,000 comments. New episodes will debut every Wednesday.
A+E has plans to release an advice series, “This Is How We Do It,” on Facebook in October. That show features discussions between grandmothers and their 20-something grandkids about sex and other intimate details of their personal lives. Each three- to six-minute episode includes advice on dating and relationships.
A+E’s in-house digital storytelling hub, 45th & Dean, creates the shows under the direction of Paul Greenberg, executive vice president of the unit. 45th & Dean also produced “Chloe Does It!” for YouTube and “Second Chance” for Snapchat.
The numbers released by A&E are among the first to come out following the launch of Facebook Watch providing some insight into how the big audience might be. The numbers promising, but interest levels in Facebook Watch were pretty high at launch. The industry will be paying close attention to see if A&E can maintain a similar level of interest in the show over time. In comparison, one of the most popular shows on Snapchat, E!'s "The Rundown," reportedly gets an average of 7 million viewers per week. Over on TV, the popular show "Big Bang Theory" received an average of 14.03 million views per episode during the last season.
Brands are likely to take notice of these numbers. Facebook is reportedly currently looking at how ads will work in the shows.
Facebook is wasting no time in ramping up its video content as the social network seeks ways to keep audiences engaged with its platform. The company is ready to spend as much as $1 billion to create original shows, people familiar with matter told The Wall Street Journal. The figure covers potential spending through the end of next year, and may fluctuate depending on the success of the programming.
The $1 billion is much more than Facebook’s prior spending on video content, including live-video programming. CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said he wants Facebook to become a “video-first” platform. Facebook’s entry into video adds to the clutter of programming, especially as tech companies like Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google seek more content to lure subscription revenue or advertising.
Facebook wants to stand out from those other platforms by encouraging social interactions that provide the underpinning for the company’s ad-supported business model. That means Facebook is seeking programming that its 2 billion users want to discuss, while also expanding its offerings related to sports, which generate conversations on the social network. Facebook bid more than $600 million for the digital rights to stream cricket matches in India from 2018 to 2022, but 21st Century Fox’s Star India won the contract with a $2.6 billion bid for broadcast and digital-streaming rights, according to The Wall Street Journal.