Facebook eyeing deal with HBO and others

Recode reports that Facebook Watch – possibly the worst place to consume long-form video on the internet – is hoping to strike deals with major channels to offer direct access for a fee:

The social network is talking to pay TV channels including HBO, Showtime and Starz about a proposal to sell those companies’ streaming TV services on Facebook. Consumers who subscribed to the channels could watch them on Facebook’s own properties — mostly likely via Facebook’s “Watch” hub — but could also likely view them on other platforms and devices, like Roku TVs.

Facebook’s strategy with Watch is all over the place. It’s a social networking product built on distractions, but now experts people to consume a piece for content for 30 minutes or more. On the FB app, that’s just not going to happen. If Facebook establishes a presence on Roku and other smart TV devices, sure – but why would consumers switch from existing services (like Prime) to use Facebook instead? There’s nothing distinctive whatsoever.

If I was tasked with carving Watch’s internet TV niche, I’d gravitate to what Facebook already does well: serving up mildly-entertaining, lightweight viral fluff. There’s no shame in that – it’s just daytime TV for a new generation.