Apple and Facebook gunning for Netflix with aggressive plans for original content

“In terms of original content, we have put our toe in the water doing some original content for Apple Music, and that will be rolling out through the year,” Cook said. “We are learning from that, and we’ll go from there.”

Cook went on to note that he is pleased with the company’s progress on Apple TV, which launched a year ago. The device, similar to Roku, connects TVs to the Internet and allows access to streaming service apps such as Netflix, Hulu and ESPN.

Now Apple wants to join Netflix in becoming a content provider. Apple has plans to “participate economically in some of that by offering our platform selling and distributing,” per Cook.

“With our toe in the water we are learning a lot about the original content business, and thinking about ways that we could play in that,” he said.

Not to be outdone, Facebook is also planning to bring long-form content to screens larger than a mobile phone, per The Wall Street Journal. The Menlo Park-based company is developing its own app for set-top boxes, including Apple TV.

Facebook has been considering a connected-TV app for a few years, but has now made it a top priority along with its other video initiatives, per the Journal. In addition to the app, the company is also moving forward with acquiring and funding original programming from media companies and individual digital stars, according to Variety. Ricky Van Veen, Facebook’s head of global creative strategy, is spearheading the effort after joining the company last year from CollegeHumor.

The moves out of both companies emphasize the importance of original content as they take on Netflix, Amazon and even Google’s YouTube — all which have made significant investments in programming. A report from The Wall Street Journal last month said Apple will aim for high-end original content, similar to award-nominated shows such such as HBO’s “Westworld” or Netflix’s “Stranger Things.”

A few hit shows for Apple could encourage people to continue to purchase Apple devices and shell out for its subscription services. Apple reported on Tuesday that its services are its fastest-growing business, per TechCrunch.

Facebook’s strategy has more to do with advertising, with the company looking for new ways bring traditional TV marketing dollars to its platform. Last week, the social media giant updated its algorithm to reward producers of longer videos. If Facebook can increase users’ watch time on the site and on television screens, it can bring in more advertisers.

Facebook users were already watching 100 million hours of video per day on the platform in 2016, per Recode. The company stands to generate $3.8 billion in revenue from video advertising this year, triple its expected take in 2015, according to Variety.


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