Meta shuts down Facebook Watch Originals; Mina Lefevre on the move

by | May 2, 2023 | News

First reported in Deadline, social media giant Meta has called time on its Facebook Watch Originals programme. As part of the fallout from its decision, Meta head of development and programming Mina Lefevre is leaving the firm.

Lefevre joined Meta in 2017 from MTV Networks and was a key driving force in Facebook’s original content strategy. In recent times, however, the company has scaled down its investment in this area – similar to other social media platforms.

At its high point, Facebook Watch was drawing plaudits for its original content from the likes of the New York Times. Standout shows from the early years of the Originals initiative included scripted series such as SKAM Austin, Sacred Lies, Strangers and Starter Pack. Among factual highlights were Sorry For Your Loss, Red Table Talk and a reboot of MTV’s iconic Real World franchise.

With the winding down of Facebook Watch Originals, none of the current slate of titles will be renewed, with Jada Pinkett Smith’s Red Table Talk one of the most high profile casualties. Since its launch in 2018, the chat show has racked up 129 episodes across five seasons. Westbrook, the company behind the show, is reported to be looking for a new home for the franchise.

Meta is not turning its back on original content completely. Instead of Facebook Watch commissions, it is planning to double down on VR experiences in Meta Horizon Worlds that can also be used on its social platforms. An example of this approach would be The Notorious B.I.G. Sky’s The Limit: A VR Concert Experience in celebration of Biggie’s 50th birthday, which took place on December 16, 2022.

Both YouTube and Snapchat have also withdrawn from the originals commissioning business, leaving the path clear for creator-led originals. As social media platforms continue to shift their focus away from original content, digital platforms are becoming increasingly important for digital content creators looking to distribute their work and build their audiences.

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