When Lionsgate and Facebook announced earlier this week that they were teaming up with the author of Twilight to reboot the franchise, a few things about the project were unusual. For one, there's the idea: Aspiring female filmmakers sourced through a crowdsourcing platform will make short films based on author Stephenie Meyer's "Official Illustrated Guide" to Twilight — a professional attempt to enter the wildly popular world of fan fiction, you could argue. Twilight star Kristen Stewart, along with Kate Winslet, Octavia Spencer, a director of Frozen, and a number of others will serve on the selection panel.
But more unusual is where the finished, professionalized products will live: exclusively on Facebook.
Of course, Hollywood has been producing professional videos to air on streaming sites for a while, and aside from the obvious high-profile projects at Netflix and Amazon, Hollywood studios have also made projects exclusively for YouTube and Hulu. But those sites are all video-specific — spaces that feel like the movie theaters and living rooms of the internet. Facebook is a little different, but increasingly, it's becoming a home for video that might recently have lived comfortably on YouTube or in a player on another site.
In recent months, Facebook has been surfacing more videos that have been directly uploaded to Facebook in the news feed (remember the ice bucket challenge?) and professional entities are playing with direct-to-Facebook video uploads as well. Beyoncé, for example, posted a video to both Facebook and YouTube, with more success on the former. A manager at Beyoncé's production company told the New York Times that Facebook had become their "primary platform for connecting with fans."
A similar kind of connection with enthusiastic fan bases appears to be the goal in the Twilight project as well. Dan Rose, Facebook's vice president of partnerships, said in a statement the project was "a great opportunity to engage Twilight's massive global audience on Facebook." Massive indeed – Twilight has 47 million fans on Facebook.
For now, putting video on Facebook is probably most effective for those with huge, built-in audiences; those like Beyoncé and Twilight. For individual creators looking to monetize their videos, YouTube is likely still the preferred space, thanks to the ability to get a cut of advertising revenue. That said, as more creators diversify their revenue streams with more brand integrations and live events, that could change.
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