Facebook, Twitter Out to Compete For TV (Report)

Both companies want to offer more live events

Facebook's thumbs-up "like" logo on a sign at its headquarters
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Facebook and Twitter are hungry for live video, competing to snag rights to real TV.

Both companies have approached programmers about deals for live TV licenses, the New York Post reported, citing unnamed people familiar with the situation. The report said Facebook is trying to compete more directly with YouTube, and may offer packages of specific paid TV content called “skinny bundles.”

A Facebook representative told TheWrap that the company is not focused on acquiring the rights to conventional TV programs. Facebook believes live video on its network is different and complementary to regular TV, the company said. “We have an early beta program for a small number of partners to help support them as they explore Facebook Live, and our goal with live video is to work with our partners to move to a sustainable monetization model quickly,” the rep added.

Twitter declined TheWrap’s request for comment.

The world’s biggest social network was already bidding for streaming rights to Thursday night NFL games, as well as making overtures to celebrities to use its live broadcasting tools.

The programmers who offer that content want to know more about how they would be paid, the report said.

Facebook has been aggressively ramping up video in its News Feed, especially live content. Facebook video views rocketed to eight billion a day in November, doubling in about seven months. The company has elevated more videos in individual feeds, started autoplaying clips as you scroll past them, and allowed users to broadcast live from phones.

Twitter, meanwhile, is trying to hold onto users, and believes live TV could improve its conversations around real-time events.