Facebook has signed agreements with Australia’s biggest broadcasters as part of the social media giant’s first major television content deals outside of the US.
The announcement of the deals comes just over a week after the Australian competition watchdog handed down its report on Facebook and Google’s impact on the media and advertising markets, and recommended a series of regulations and new laws.
The agreement will see Facebook fund the creation of exclusive news content by the broadcasters, to be hosted on its Facebook Watch platform.
Participating broadcasters include Nine Entertainment Co, Seven West Media, Network Ten, News Corps’ Sky News, Junkee Media and SBS.
The publishers will have full editorial control over the content but will be collaborating with Facebook to work out which stories are resonating with the audience.
“We want to test the appetite on Facebook for those stories and so that’s the reason we’re partnering on these deals,” Facebook’s Australia and New Zealand news partnership lead Andrew Hunter told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“There is a lot of focus on the Australian market from the leadership of Facebook.”
Some of the shows to be featured on Facebook include a deep dive into a major news story every day by Sky News, a look into trending topics by Junkee Media and a weekly interview series to be created by PedestrianTV on the effects of virality.
Content from Nine, Seven, Sky News and Network 10 will be available on Facebook from today.
The announcement was made just over a week after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s much-anticipated report into digital platforms and the market dominance of Facebook and Google.
The report was highly critical of Facebook’s impact of the media and market industries and included a range of recommendations for government.
But Hunter said the partnerships have been in discussion for “years”.
“This is a culmination of a long period of discussions, feedback from the partners, including the fact they wanted to work with us on innovative video on Facebook as well as giving us the feedback that they wanted to make more money out of their video presence on Facebook as well,” he said.
“Looking at the regulatory issues, one of the key aspects of the ACCC’s investigations were to look at the way that media businesses and the platforms work together. I think this is a great example of a real partnership between Facebook and the news organisations and this is exactly the way that we should be working together.”
The agreements will last for 12 months, and there is speculation that a similar one will soon be announced with the ABC, the only major broadcaster to not be included in the announcement.
Facebook has been making a major effort to work with media organisations in Australia over the last year, partnering with the Walkley Foundation in February for a $5 million investment with the Facebook Journalism Project News Accelerator, and making Australia the first country outside of the US to have access to the local news publishing feature, Today.