Facebook is working on a video-focused app aimed at set-top boxes including Apple TV (and different entirely from its existing offering on Roku, which is essentially a variation on its current mobile app), according to a new report from the Wall Street Journal. The plans focus on helping turn Facebook’s wellspring of video content into a destination on a platform that’s almost exclusively aimed at delivering video, in a bid to help it better tap into budgets that are currently going towards traditional TV advertising.
The report also reiterates claims we’ve seen before that Facebook is looking to license quality original video content, similar to how Netflix and Amazon will often pick up the exclusive rights to shows for distribution on their own platforms. That would be a big draw for a dedicated video app, and help bring in audiences that might not necessarily join in if all that was available was user-generated content. Premium content means more premium ad dollars, too, which according to this report does seem to be the goal for Facebook with this endeavor.
It also sounds like there would be opportunity here for Facebook to use this as a means to further its ambitions as a live video source, since users could broadcast to the TV app. Twitter uses its own Apple TV app as an endpoint for its live programming experiments in partnership with media companies and sports leagues, so this could indeed prove fruitful in helping it expand that part of its video strategy, too.
Of course, this would also make Facebook look even more like a media company than it already does, which would put renewed energy into the debate around its responsibilities there and general role in disseminating information. But YouTube is already well on its way to being a broad replacement for traditional cable and satellite video delivery, so it would make sense for Facebook to press on with its own efforts to stake out some of that territory, and a dedicated app for set-top boxes including Apple TV and Android TV devices would be a relatively low-cost way to do that.
We reached out to Facebook, but they had not responded as of publication time.