Facebook hits 2 billion monthly user mark; to collaborate with Hollywood in production of original TV shows


Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said on Tuesday that the social network had 2 billion monthly users.

The company had 1.94 billion people using its service monthly as of March 31, an increase of 17 percent from a year earlier.

The social network’s user base dwarfs that of similar companies. Twitter Inc. reported in April monthly active users of 328 million, while Snap Inc’s Snapchat had 166 million daily users in the first quarter ended March 31.

Facebook is looking to grow its massive user base, especially in developing nations where the service currently has smaller penetration rates.

The company has been building up its services by increasing focus on livestreaming and has been ramping up its camera features.

Facebook has also been developing technology known as augmented reality, a mix of the real and digital worlds.

Facebook is also in talks with Hollywood studios about producing scripted, TV-quality shows, with an aim of launching original programing by late summer, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday.

The social networking giant has indicated that it was willing to commit to production budgets as high as $3 million per episode, in meetings with Hollywood talent agencies, the Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Facebook is hoping to target audiences from ages 13 to 34, with a focus on the 17 to 30 range. The company has already lined up “Strangers”, a relationship drama, and a game show, “Last State Standing”, the report said.

“We’re focused on episodic shows and helping all our partners understand what works across different verticals and topics,” said Nick Grudin, Facebook’s vice president for media partnerships.

The company is expected to release episodes in a traditional manner, instead of dropping an entire season in one go like Netflix Inc. and Amazon.com Inc., WSJ reported.

The company is also willing to share its viewership data with Hollywood, the report said.

Apple Inc. hired co-presidents of Sony Pictures Television, Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg, earlier this month, to lead its video-programming efforts.

Apple began its long-awaited move into original television series last week, with a reality show called “Planet of the Apps”, an unscripted show about developers trying to interest celebrity mentors with a 60-second pitch on an escalator.

The company’s future programing plans include an adaptation of comedian James Corden’s “Carpool Karaoke” segment from his CBS Corp. show that will begin airing in August.

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