Aug 13, 2019

Facebook funding 2 new BuzzFeed News shows

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Facebook is funding 2 new BuzzFeed shows as a part of its effort to bolster news video on Watch, according to an internal memo by BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith that was sent to staff late last night.

Details: The first show — called "Did You See This?" — will launch as a daily news program this September with a rotating cast of BuzzFeed News reporters and pop culture experts. The daily news roundup will unfold "using the Facebook Messenger feature in BuzzFeed’s fan-favorite video format," writes Smith.

  • Facebook will also fund "That Literally Happened," a weekly series that "brings nostalgia and historical curiosity to life through the lens of Gen Y and Gen Next-ers learning about the news, alongside the generations who lived through it." It will debut in September and will be hosted by BuzzFeed News’ Hayes Brown.

Yes, but: BuzzFeed's current show on Watch called "Profile," which has completed its one-year run, isn't getting renewed, which sources say can be attributed in part to its long-form format. Smith says "we’re not ruling out using the "Profile" brand in another context, and we’re working toward defining what that is."

The big picture: Facebook said in June that it would launch a new series of shows on its video tab Watch this year, using learnings from the shows it funded over the past year. Reports have suggested that Facebook is spending around $90 million to invest in news shows on Watch.

  • A new report out from The Wall Street Journal last week suggested that Facebook has offered millions of dollars to big news organizations to license their content for a Facebook news section to debut in 2019.

Be smart: A source tells Axios that Facebook won't actually be licensing articles, but rather will be paying for links to articles and snippets of news. In Europe, regulators passed a controversial "link tax" last year, charging major web platforms for using snippets of news content online.

Between the lines: BuzzFeed has now had to take a clinical approach to transforming its video business.

  • In 2018, it started to transition its business out of the viral feed videos into licensed content. It's now focusing more on news programming, and creating licensed shows for social specifically, not just Netflix or other OTT platforms.
  • BuzzFeed last month launched its first show on Snapchat called "BTW," a daily afternoon celebrity and entertainment news update.
  • It also renewed its morning show on Twitter "AM2DM" earlier this year.

Go deeper: The sports streaming landscape, mapped

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Updates: George Floyd protests enter 12th day

Protesters in Washington, D.C. on June 6. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Tens of thousands of demonstrators are rallying in cities across the U.S. and around the world to protest the killing of George Floyd. Huge crowds have assembled in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Chicago for full-day events.

Why it matters: Twelve days of nationwide protest in the U.S. has built pressure for states to make new changes on what kind of force law enforcement can use on civilians and prompted officials to review police conduct.

Updated 3 hours ago - World

In photos: People around the world rally against racism

Despite a ban on large gatherings implemented in response to the coronavirus pandemic, protesters rally against racism in front of the American Embassy in Paris on June 6. Photo: Julien Mattia/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Tens of thousands of people have continued to rally in cities across the world against racism and show their support this week for U.S. demonstrators protesting the death in police custody of George Floyd.

Why it matters: The tense situation in the U.S. has brought the discussion of racism and discrimination onto the global stage at a time when most of the world is consumed by the novel coronavirus.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7:30 p.m. ET: 6,852,810 — Total deaths: 398,211 — Total recoveries — 3,071,142Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7:30 p.m. ET: 1,917,080 — Total deaths: 109,702 — Total recoveries: 500,849 — Total tested: 19,778,873Map.
  3. Public health: Why the pandemic is hitting minorities harder — Coronavirus curve rises in FloridaHow racism threatens the response to the pandemic Some people are drinking and inhaling cleaning products in attempt to fight the virus.
  4. Tech: The pandemic is accelerating next-generation disease diagnostics — Robotics looks to copy software-as-a-service model.
  5. Business: Budgets busted by coronavirus make it harder for cities to address inequality Sports, film production in California to resume June 12 after 3-month hiatus.
  6. Education: Students and teachers flunked remote learning.