Facebook is quite close to announcing news shows for its video platform, Watch, which will include content from the likes of CNN and Fox News. According to people familiar with the matter, the social media platform will finance the news programs that are being negotiated, and the programs will run on Facebook exclusively.
Facebook to bring a News Video section to Watch
A few of the shows, including one hosted by Shepard Smith from Fox News, will officially release in July, though some might be released earlier.
The tech giant has invested in the news business in the past as well. However, this financing of exclusive news programming is a big step, as this will be a direct investment in the field.
Alex Hardiman, head of the news division of Facebook, said that people tell Facebook that they want to “stay informed about what is happening around them.” Recently, Facebook announced that it is bringing a News Video section to its video service, Watch. This video service, which made its debut last year at the end of summer, will allow people to view weekly deep dives, daily news briefings and live coverage which are available to Watch exclusively.
Facebook committed to real-time and breaking news: Ms. Hardiman
This move by the tech company into the original news business comes at a critical time, given the fake news and political imbalance controversies in which it has been embroiled. Facebook has partnered with publishers in the past, but it has never been an investor in programming.
It looks like Facebook is attempting to use peoples’ trust in cable news to strengthen its own reputation. To regain the trust of its users, it will include popular journalists like Shepard Smith and companies like CNN and Fox News.
There are more changes to accompany this news push. Facebook is shutting down its trending topics section and is releasing a new section dubbed ‘Today In’ which will connect people to the updates from local organizations and officials, as well as to news from local publishers. With these new shows and Watch, Facebook hopes to challenge both YouTube and traditional television. It remains to be seen if Watch will be able to provide Facebook with the success that it seeks.