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Twentieth Century Fox Television is bringing “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Angel” and “Firefly” back in the United States in a new deal with Facebook Watch.
Sarah Michelle Gellar announced the series’ return via a video “Premiere” — one of Facebook’s promotional features — on her Facebook page Friday. “Buffy” had its 20th anniversary last fall, and Netflix upset fans when it announced that it would remove the series from its service in April 2017.
As a “big fan” of “Buffy,” Facebook’s video lead Fidji Simo noted in a blog post how “thrilled” she is to air the series on Facebook Watch. “I remember going to friends’ houses to watch the newest episode of ‘Buffy’ together, or calling each other during commercials and after it ended to debrief,” she said.
Earlier this week, the social media platform made Watch Party — a group viewing product — available to users worldwide. As part of the re-release of “Buffy,” Facebook is hosting Watch Parties three weeks in a row starting today, Nov. 30.
“Our focus with Facebook Watch is on content and experiences that help people connect, ignite conversation and build community,” said Simo. “We think there is a range of content that can do this, and are excited to bring iconic pop culture favorites like these series for their avid fan communities to experience them in new ways, and for new fans to discover these awesome ’90s classics.”
Streaming leaders like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and now Apple have all built the foundations of those businesses on library content before investing in original IP. Tentpole titles like “Seinfeld,” which landed at Hulu, “Friends” on Netflix and “Sex and The City” on Amazon Prime, have been viewed as highly valuable library-building assets. Newer entrants, like Fullscreen, went after other ’90s classics like “Saved by the Bell.” Twitch binge-streamed classics like “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” and Julia Child’s “The French Chef.”
As history has shown, to compete with television, streaming businesses need television classics. With dozens of its own funded shows in the mix, fan-favorites like “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” can support the Facebook as it aims to train its users to watch and engage with TV-style programming on its platform.