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Facebook Orders Jessica Biel Starrer Limetown Show for Watch


Facebook FB is expanding Watch’s original content portfolio. Reportedly, the social media giant has ordered a 10-episode series named Limetown, which is based on a popular podcast.

Limetown is a fictional series that revolves around the disappearance of 300 people at a neuroscience research facility in Tennessee. Per Deadline, Jessica Biel plays the lead role of Lia Haddock, a journalist for American Public Radio (APR), who investigates the mystery.

The latest series follows recently released Elizabeth Olsen starrer Sorry for Your Loss, which received rave reviews. Facebook is reportedly working on Catherine Zeta-Jones’ dark comedy, Queen America.

Facebook, Inc. Revenue (TTM)

Facebook, Inc. Revenue (TTM) | Facebook, Inc. Quote

Focus on Watch & Sports Improves Video Opportunities

Facebook is focusing on Watch to capture the growth opportunity presented by the ever-increasing video viewing on social media platforms. Reportedly, the social media giant has a budget of $1 billion dedicated to aggressively push its video initiatives.

Facebook’s plan to develop original shows will also help it compete against the likes of Netflix NFLX, Amazon Prime, YouTube and Hulu in the rapidly growing streaming market. Apple and Disney are also set to join the list of streaming service providers in 2019.

Watch also has a solid sports-related content portfolio. The company has signed a deal with Major League Baseball (MLB) to stream 25 games on the platform this season.

Apart from original drama and comedy content, Facebook is aggressively focusing on promoting sports viewing, particularly Football, on the platform.

Facebook has acquired rights to stream matches of 2019-2022 Copa Libertadores as well as 32 UEFA Champions League matches, every season, in South America for 2018-2021.

Facebook is also focusing on India and Asia-Pacific, where it has ample room for growth. The company has partnered with Spain’s elite soccer division, La Liga to air the upcoming three seasons of the tournament in the Indian sub-continent.

Moreover, Facebook acquired live streaming rights for the 2019-2022 English Premier League (EPL) in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.

Security Woes Continue to Hurt

Facebook is taking initiatives to retain as well as attract new users. These not only involve aggressive video push, including launch of the new Portal device, but also security measures amid heightened competition for ad dollars.

However, users may not be confident about using the platform, considering a plethora of recent security issues. Notably, the recent data breach resulted in information loss of more than 50 million users, which may lead to a fine of $1.63 billion.

Facebook is making significant investments to strengthen security on the platform. The company currently has 15K people working on security and content review, and expects to expand it to more than 20K by year end.

However, aggressive investments for the initiatives related to improving ad transparency, removal of fake accounts and curbing fake news are expected to hurt profitability in the near term.

Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider

Currently, Facebook has a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell). Angie’s List ANGI and Match Group MTCH are two better-ranked stocks in the same industry. While Match carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), Angie’s List sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Long-term earnings growth rate for Angie’s List and Match is currently pegged at 25% and 12.5%, respectively.

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