Facebook Takes Steps Toward Streaming TV
News that Facebook Inc (NASDAQ: FB) will host on its platform the first episodes of HBO's new shows "Ballers" and "The Brink" signals that the social media giant expects streaming TV will become an important part of its business, an analyst said Wednesday.
Brean Capital's Sarah Hindlian believes that Facebook has been quietly working with broadcast networks for more than three years on hosting content on its core website.
"It is too early to suggest that investors do anything incremental with the news," Hindlian said, "but we think it is a trend to follow."
The analyst noted a report in Variety that the two TV shows will be available starting Wednesday on Facebook for a limited time.
"If nothing else, the move shows the growing clout in the video space of the social-media giant," Variety said.
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"Facebook will be less the enemy of network TV, and more likely a potential partner in a blended advertising share model," according to Hindlian.
HBO, a unit of Time Warner Inc (NYSE: TWX), launched "Ballers," a comedy starring Dwayne Johnson, June 21 on its cable television network.
"The Brink," a comedy starring Tim Robbins launched the same day.
HBO is a "much different business model than traditional network TV," according to Hindlian, and therefore is a likely early partner for Facebook.
Both HBO and Facebook may gain from the experiment, which Hindlian noted "appears limited to the premier episodes."
Hindlian maintains a Buy rating and $108 target on Facebook, which traded recently at $88.89, up $1.01.
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