Facebook Inc is creating an app for television set-top boxes, including Apple Inc’s Apple TV, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The world’s biggest online social network is also in discussions with media companies to license long-form, TV-quality programming, the Journal reported on Tuesday.  Facebook declined to comment.

An app for set-top boxes would bring Facebook closer to live video and video advertisements. Getting advertisers to buy more video ads is key to Facebook’s continued revenue growth as such ads fetch higher rates from advertisers than text or photo-based ads.

Live video is also becoming a highly competitive feature on social platforms, with companies competing to stream major sports events and exclusive video components from high-profile events such as the Oscar and Grammy awards shows.

In April, Facebook expanded its live video product, Facebook Live -a potential threat to broadcast television, giving it prominent placement on its app and rolling out features to make it easier for users to search and comment in real time.

Facebook has been pushing videos aggressively on the platform, and is also exploring the idea of original content. In December, Mashable and Re-code reported the social media giant is working on its own original content. The report on Mashable said the company has begun the talks with various “potential partners” and its efforts are in “early phases” of planning the video expansion.

Facebook’s head of global creative strategy Ricky Van Veen, who was the co-founder of CollegeHumour site, is overseeing the initiative. The new content, which hasn’t been finalised yet, would come under Facebook’s video tab, according to a statement from Ricky Van Veen.

His statement added, “Earlier this year, we started rolling out the Video tab, a dedicated place for video on Facebook. Our goal is to kickstart an ecosystem of partner content for the tab, so we’re exploring funding some seed video content, including original and licensed scripted, unscripted, and sports content, that takes advantage of mobile and the social interaction unique to Facebook. Our goal is to show people what is possible on the platform and learn as we continue to work with video partners around the world.”

This article originally appeared at: http://indianexpress.com/article/technology/social/facebook-to-develop-app-for-television-set-top-boxes-including-apple-tv-report/.

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