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Facebook is reportedly prepared to spend up to $1 billion on video as part of its big move into original content, exemplified by its recent launch of Watch.
The news will come as sweet relief for many media companies that have found huge audiences on Facebook but little in the way of actual revenue. Facebook has slowly inched forward with some programs that shared ad revenue on things like Facebook Instant Articles, but had resisted cutting checks directly to media companies.
That started to change about a year ago when Facebook launched its Live video project with some media partners who were paid to produce content. Now, Facebook Watch features a variety of partners who are receiving payments for original video.
It is to be mentioned that Watch so far has been a relatively small experiment, but $1 billion is a decent chunk of cash, and follows on a similar report about Apple’s growing ambition to make original video. Apple, however, is reportedly looking for only a handful of major projects.
It’s also a drop in the bucket compared to the budgets of companies like Netflix and Amazon, who are each laying out tens of billions of dollars in the pursuit. Those budgets, however, aren’t going to smaller publishers.