12:00pm PT by Natalie Jarvey
Facebook Licenses 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer,' 'Angel' in Social Viewing Push
Facebook's newest friends are Buffy and Angel.
The social network has struck a deal with 20th Century Fox to license all seasons of Joss Whedon-created dramas Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel and Firefly in the U.S. Buffy star Sarah Michelle Gellar announced the news on her Facebook page on Friday.
The licensing pact comes amid Facebook's rollout of a new social viewing experience it is calling Watch Party, which gives users the ability to watch a show together with a friend even when they aren't in the same place. Earlier this week, Facebook made Watch Party available to all profiles and pages.
"Our focus with Facebook Watch is on content and experiences that help people connect, ignite conversation and build community," Facebook vp video Fidji Simo wrote in a blog post. "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."
Buffy premiered in 1997 on The WB and developed a devoted fan base over its seven seasons. A spinoff starring David Boreanaz's character, Angel, debuted in 1999. Firefly was Whedon's non-Buffy follow-up, and although the Nathan Fillion vehicle only lasted one season, it has attracted a cult following. All three shows also are available to stream on Hulu.
Until this deal, traditional TV licensing had not been a factor in Facebook's video strategy. Even without bulking up on library fare, the company's Watch video platform features an array of shortform series from its partners. Meanwhile, it has also begun to pick up a handful of premium scripted and unscripted shows like Queen America starring Catherine Zeta-Jones and Red Table Talk hosted by Jada Pinkett Smith.
Facebook has organized Watch Parties for each of the shows in the coming days.