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First Facebook TV episodes are said to be ready for mid-August

2017-06-19T021324Z_351231128_RC1736573F10_RTRMADP_3_INDONESIA-FACEBOOK.JPG
Facebook Inc's version of television is coming online in mid-August after several false starts, according to people familiar with the matter.

[SAN FRANCISCO] Facebook Inc's version of television is coming online in mid-August after several false starts, according to people familiar with the matter.

The company has been asking its partners to turn in the first episodes of their spotlight shows, the people said. Some already have finished these short-form, inexpensive programs. Facebook is also funding higher-end TV-style shows, which will be launched later on the site, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans aren't public.

Facebook originally expected the project to be ready about a month ago, but it has taken longer than anticipated and further delays could occur, the people said. The company is funding a set of original programs, expected to be displayed outside of a user's news feed in a new video section that's intended to give the company a greater cut of the US$70 billion television advertising market.  The new video section will offer the social network's more than 2 billion users a mix of scripted and user-generated content. Facebook aims to make something higher-end than Google's YouTube, but it's not competing with video producers such as Netflix, HBO and Showtime.

A Facebook spokeswoman declined to comment.

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Facebook has commissioned inexpensive, short-form video series from a handful of media partners, and is also funding the creation of higher-end series with running times similar to shows on cable television. The company has hired former TV and media executives to oversee its foray into original video, and continues to expand that team. By funding the first set of shows, Facebook will be able to provide a good testing ground for the content. It has no plans to fund shows over the long term.

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