After several fits and starts, Facebook Inc.'s (FB) first television episodes will launch in the middle of August as the social media network operator pushes into original content. 

Citing people familiar with the matter, Bloomberg reported the social media network operator has been asking its content partners to hand in their first episodes with some that are creating short-form programming already done. TV-type shows, which the company is also bankrolling, will come online later in the year, reported Bloomberg. The social media giant had previously expected to launch the shows in June. 

As previously reported by Bloomberg, the social media service juggernaut recently completed deals in what is seen as its first round of new shows, including the reality show “Last State Standing” and a second season of “Loosely Exactly Nicole,” a comedy series that originally aired on MTV. In conjunction with the programs, Facebook is rolling out two video tabs, reported Bloomberg. (See also: Report: Facebook Taking Pitches for Original Shows.)

Targeting Twitter, Not Netflix

The company is hoping that if it bankrolls original programming, it will lure other production companies to the platform. The idea is to steal advertising dollars away from television, which is where most brands still spend the lion’s share of their budgets. Bloomberg noted that Facebook isn’t going after the likes of Netflix Inc. (NFLX), HBO or premium cable channels with the new offering but rather cable networks and ad-supported content online.

Earlier this week, Twitter Inc. (TWTR) announced it had inked deal to broadcast “Talk the Thrones,” an aftershow for the wildly popular HBO series “Game of Thrones.” The weekly recap show, which last year aired on HBO outlets, will be live streamed on Twitter and its Periscope following the premier of each episode of the series. Over the weekend, it streamed what is its first basic cable drama after it made its debut on the TNT network Sunday. “Claws,” a drama that takes place in a Florida nail salon and stars Carrie Preston, Jenn Lyon, Judy Reyes and Karrueche Tran, aired on Turner-owned TNT on Sunday with an encore following on Twitter. For West Coast viewers, the Twitter airing was actually ahead of the debut on TV. (See also: Twitter Announces 12 New Live Content Deals.)

According to the Bloomberg report, Facebook is aiming to bankroll series from TV producers that are already established and will take several months to produce, as well as shorter, cheaper content from publishers including Vox Media and BuzzFeed. The latter are being called spotlight shows, said the report. The shows are being produced in an episode format with the hopes that it will spark lots of conversations on the platform. People familiar with the matter told Bloomberg that Facebook has a budget that is in line with lot of cable networks and is looking for content that will resonate with younger women. Spotlight shows were supposed to have come out already, but that won’t happen until the fall, which will hurt its ability to host a live stream of singer Katy Perry focused on the launch of her new album.

 

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