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Facebook to Invest in Reality Show Based on Marshawn Lynch

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Facebook Inc. (FB - Free Report) is investing “millions of dollars” in a reality show named No Script featuring NFL player, Marshawn Lynch, per a Reuters report that quoted Time Warner’s (TWX - Free Report) sports news website, Bleacher Report. The eight episode show spanning around 10-15 minutes will be released later this month on Facebook’s recently launched video-viewing tab, Watch.

Although Facebook is yet to comment on the deal, it was earlier reported that the company is likely to shell out $10,000 to $35,000 for each short script show. For shows with a duration of 30 minutes (owned by Facebook), it is ready to spend as much as $250,000. The company also apparently plans to shell out as much as $3 million per episode for high quality content.

The news comes on the heels of reports that Facebook intends to invest $1 billion in original content over the next year. The company seems to be leaving no stone unturned to attract viewers in order to make its mark in the growing video streaming market.

Per Bleacher Report’s president Rory Brown, posts on Lynch on its website garner most views among the content it publishes. Lynch is also one of the most popular pro athletes among its younger male audience, adds management. The deal will thus enable Facebook to lure Bleacher Report’s audience in our view.

We believe Facebook’s efforts to further its push into the world of original content will boost its subscriber base and help to sustain the momentum in its shares. Notably, Facebook has gained 50.3% year to date, substantially outperforming the industry’s 21.3% rally.

Growing Video Streaming Industry

Facebook’s “video-first” initiative is a positive, primarily due to favorable industry trends. Apart from a shift in viewers’ preference to online streaming from legacy platforms, binge viewing is catching up fast.

Per Research firm MarketsandMarkets, the video streaming industry is anticipated to grow from $3.25 billion in 2017 to $7.50 billion by 2022, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.2%.

Also, online video is the most lucrative component of digital advertising. Facebook’s attempt to incorporate more and more video-oriented content will enable it to boost its top line by generating more dollars from video advertisements.

Competition

Although Facebook is supposedly investing a hefty amount in this deal, it doesn’t ensure complete exclusivity for the social media giant. Reportedly, only for a certain period of time, No Script will be exclusively with Facebook after which content rights will be retained by the publisher, Bleacher Report. Amid growing competition from established players like Amazon (AMZN - Free Report) Prime, Netflix (NFLX - Free Report) , Hulu and Time Warner’s HBO, we believe the eventual loss of rights may hurt the company going ahead.

The publisher’s parent company Time Warner’s media empire, already comprises HBO and Turner.  In June 2017, the company struck a deal with Snap to help the latter attract more young audience and increase advertising revenues. Per the deal, Time Warner will create and produce 10 original shows annually over the next two years. There is a possibility that Facebook may lose out on the show if another video streaming platform strikes a better deal with the publisher, in our view.

Zacks Rank

Currently, Facebook has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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