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Facebook reportedly developing app for television set-top boxes

Facebook Inc. might be coming to a bigger small screen.

The social network is developing a video-centric app for television set-top boxes, including Apple Inc.’s Apple TV, people familiar with the matter said, giving it a home for video content—as well as a new vehicle for video advertising.

The app is one of several Facebook projects aimed at making it a “video-first” company that can compete for television ad dollars. The social giant has been marketing its live-streaming capabilities, testing a new video ad product and integrating more videos into Instagram, its photo-sharing app.

Facebook is also in discussions with media companies to license long-form, TV-quality programming, people familiar with the situation said. A set-top box app would be a natural way to distribute that “premium” content and make it accessible on TV sets.

Facebook is already the second-biggest player in digital advertising, after Alphabet Inc.’s Google. But the social-media giant said last November that its main source of revenue, the news feed, was running out of room for more ads.

As a result, executives warned that revenue growth would “come down meaningfully” starting in the middle of this year. Facebook is due to report its fourth-quarter earnings on Wednesday, and analysts expect revenue to have increased 46%—the slowest rate of growth in five quarters—to $8.5 billion, according to Thomson Reuters.

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