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Facebook Watch pulling back on original shows, live sports, report says

The social media giant's new video budget is a lot more like YouTube than Netflix, according to a report by The Information.


Facebook is reportedly shifting the budget of its Watch video service away from original programming. 

Angela Lang/CNET

Facebook is cutting back its spending on original programming for its Watch video hub, according to a Wednesday report by The Information. Though its budget for Watch will reportedly rise from $1 billion in 2017 to around $1.4 billion this year, the social media giant will spend "more on talk shows and licensing clips from TV networks and sports leagues," the report says. 

The company is also pulling back from bidding to stream live sports for now, a person familiar with the matter told The Information. Facebook didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. 

This strategy sets the company apart from the likes of Netflix, Apple and Disney, which have reportedly spent several billion dollars a year on their services. Facebook's model, on the other hand, is more similar to YouTube, which is geared toward (usually) shorter, free content supported by ads. Facebook is using Watch to boost user engagement and potentially bring in TV ad dollars, the report says. 

This shift for Facebook could already be seen in the cancellation of the original shows Sorry for Your Loss and Limetown earlier this month. Meanwhile, the company renewed the talk show Red Table Talk.