Amidst a slew of television series cancellations announced over the past few days, and what seems like the inevitable rise of Amazon Video and Netflix, this tidbit on the rumored pending launch of Facebook’s “big attack on TV” has slipped quietly under the radar. But Business Insider’s dot-connecting looks pretty solid here. There’s last year’s hire of CollegeHumor co-founder Ricky Van Veen, and the recent release of a Facebook video app for Apple TV. With Google upping its game by funding 40 original shows itself, and the traditional television model looking more vulnerable than ever, it all makes sense.
Multiple people mentioned Netflix’s “House of Cards” as a representation of the caliber of shows that have been pitched to Facebook for its higher tier, while another cited “Scandal” as an example. As for the lower tier, Facebook is looking for production budgets that fall somewhere between TV and digital shows, similar to the shows on Verizon’s go90 service, one person said.
Sounds pretty good, but then you also remember Facebook billionaire board member Peter Thiel‘s political controversies of the past year, and that Oculus (now owned by Facebook) co-founder Palmer Luckey allegedly helped fund a “meme machine” designed to create viral anti-Clinton memes (Luckey has recently left Facebook), not to mention those studies and experiments Facebook has reportedly done regarding people’s emotions, and… well, much as I like both House of Cards and Scandal, if Business Insider’s info is accurate, and if there’s an implication that this might mean series with political elements in them, that raises my eyebrows a bit.
College Humor has largely done stuff that ranges from fun to silly at best, so all of this might be largely off base — maybe it’ll mostly be like Getting Drunk on Wine (Hot Date). But in the current climate, it’s imprudent to let that pass without at least wondering about it.