Discovery’s Group Nine Media has bought way in to Facebook’s Watch and is producing a whopping 24 shows for the new video platform.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Group Nine’s shows will range from four to 15 minutes in length and will be used to test what kind of content connects with viewers on the nascent platform.
Group Nine CEO Ben Lerer said his company was producing this kind of content for Facebook already, regardless of the Watch platform: “The fact that Watch is here validates that approach.”
Group Nine, the digital media company responsible for short video segments from news publication NowThis and animal-focused platform The Dodo, received a $100 million investment from Discovery last year. The deal gives Discovery the option to purchase a controlling share at a later date.
While Discovery is pursuing its $14.6 billion deal for Scripps, which would give it control of about 20% of ad-supported pay-TV audiences in the U.S. and will account for more than a 20% share of women watching prime-time pay TV in the U.S., the company is also pursuing a digital strategy.
Discovery CEO David Zaslav told CNBC that Group Nine Media is part of Discovery’s efforts to disrupt itself and become “relevant on all platforms.”
"It is changing our culture. We're learning about short form content. We're learning about one-minute videos with no audio. We're learning about short storytelling," he told CNBC.
Aside from Discovery and Group Nine, publishers including Mashable and A&E are producing shows for Facebook’s Watch in hopes of snagging some of the possible ad revenue generated by the platform.
This week, Facebook officially unveiled Watch, which is getting a limited rollout initially, and said that it would offer ad revenue to creators through Ad Breaks.
“We’ve been testing Ad Breaks over the past few months, and we will be slowly opening up availability to more creators to ensure we’re providing a good experience for the community,” wrote Nick Grudin, vice president of media partnerships at Facebook, in a blog post. He added that creators will be able to create sponsored shows using Facebook’s branded content tag.