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Why Facebook Could Look to Sell Network TV Programming

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Dec. 17 2018, Updated 4:41 p.m. ET

Facebook trying to acquire rights to broadcast premium programming

Facebook (FB) has been looking to diversify its business away from online advertising for some time. Advertising accounted for 98.6% of Facebook’s revenues last quarter. Now the company could be looking to acquire premium programming content such as AT&T’s (T) HBO. According to Recode, Facebook will “sell consumers subscriptions to cable TV networks like HBO and hopes they’ll watch those networks on its own apps.”

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Facebook has been trying to grow its premium video content on its “Watch” platform. In August, Facebook acquired the rights to broadcast UEFA Champions League in Latin America. It also bought similar rights to broadcast Spanish La Liga and English Premier League matches in many markets. Amazon (AMZN) also acquired the rights to show some English Premier matches through its Prime platform.

Facebook has partnered with news channels such as Disney’s (DIS) ABC News and Twenty-First Century Fox (FOXA) News Channel to show news content on its Watch platform. Facebook is keeping up with the tradition of media companies spending big time on content. Netflix (NFLX), for example, has already spent more than $6.3 billion on original content this year.

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