Facebook is ready to pay up to $3 million per episode of original programming that it intends to distribute through its online service, sources with knowledge of the matter said on Sunday. The Menlo Park, California-based social media giant is currently in the process of reviewing solicited pitches for a wide variety of original series spanning multiple genres and formats and while the company is said to have increased its video budget, it's also looking at cost-effective solutions and productions that may not necessarily cost anywhere near several millions of dollars per episode. The firm is primarily interested in projects that cater to an audience between 13 and 34, sources said, adding that some of the potential productions may start as early as this summer, with their individual episodes being from 10 to 30 minutes long.
One of the rumored shows that Facebook is said to have already greenlit is called Last State Standing and is meant to take the form of a reality TV sports competition with contestants from each of the 50 American states. That particular series is reportedly already in production in Los Angeles and may launch in the coming months, insiders previously said. It's currently unclear how exactly is Facebook planning to monetize its upcoming content, especially if the firm is looking to deliver programming with high production values that will have to perform extremely well to provide an acceptable return on investment. The firm's business model will likely revolve around ads and product placement, though it's also possible that Facebook is developing a subscription-based service similar to YouTube Red that it plans to offer alongside its free programming and allow consumers to either watch ad-free programming or access exclusive content. The social media giant has been pursuing original video content for over a year now, though the company is only now ramping up its efforts to finance such programming, having previously offered significantly less financial resources to producers.
While Facebook already made a large video push in terms of streaming, the company has yet to launch a truly successful original series that would help further promote its ambitions in this segment. An update on the company's endeavors is expected to follow in the coming months.