Watch: Facebook’s New TV Service for Original Shows

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Watch: Facebook's Newest Service for Original Video Shows
Watch Tab's TV Show Screen | Facebook

Thursday was another memorable day for Facebook as its move towards showcasing original video content began.

Yesterday, the social network giant just launched its ‘Watch‘ tab, a video tab where Facebook users can now watch original shows from the company’s content partners.

According to reports, Facebook will offer shows from over 30 of its partners including Mashable, Buzzfeed, Tastemade, Hearst, Attn, Refinery29, Conde Nast Entertainment, and Bleacher.

For the mean time, the company will be rolling out the Watch tab to a small group of U.S. users today, August 11, and will be available for mobile, desktop and Facebook’s TV apps.

#FacebookWatch was launched! More original video content in News Feed!Click To Tweet

In a report from TechCrunch, Facebook confirmed its plans to make Watch accessible to more users and more content creators soon, starting with the rest of the U.S. before expanding internationally.

Facebook Watch on iPhone and Android mobile. | Facebook
Facebook Watch on iPhone and Android mobile. | Facebook

Facebook Watch Also Means Revenue

Apparently, the launching of the Watch is also expected to help boost Facebook’s revenue. Further reports claimed that all Facebook partners that will produce exclusive videos for the social network giant would earn 55 percent of ad break revenue while the company would keep the other 45 percent.

It’s pretty much like hitting two birds in one shot. Facebook would increase its revenue while giving its users reason to return frequently to their News Feed for unique content they would not get anywhere.

Facebook Watch and its Features

In a blog post published in Facebook’s newsroom site, the company said that Watch will run shows made up of episodes-live or recorded-and will follow a theme or storyline. It will also have a Watchlist so people would never miss out on the latest episodes.

“Watch is personalized to help you discover new shows, organized around what your friends and communities are watching. For example, you’ll find sections like “Most Talked About,” which highlights shows that spark conversation, “What’s Making People Laugh,” which includes shows where many people have used the “Haha” reaction, and “What Friends Are Watching,” which helps you connect with friends about shows they too are following,” a part of the post read.

Watch Tab's Watchlist | Facebook
Watch Tab’s Watchlist | Facebook

Aside from that, Watch is also considered a platform for all creators and publishers to find an audience, build a community of passionate fans, and earn money for their work. Particularly:

  • Shows that engage fans and community. Nas Daily publishes a daily show where he makes videos together with his fans from around the world. The Watchlist makes it easy for fans to catch every day’s new episode.
  • Live shows that connect directly with fans. Gabby Bernstein, a New York Times bestselling author, motivational speaker, and life coach, uses a combination of recorded and live episodes to connect with her fans and answer questions in real time.
  • Shows that follow a narrative arc or have a consistent theme. Tastemade’s Kitchen Little is a funny show about kids who watch a how-to video of a recipe, then instruct professional chefs on how to make it. Each episode features a new child, a new chef, and a new recipe. Unsurprisingly, the food doesn’t always turn out as expected.
  • Live events that bring communities together. Major League Baseball is broadcasting a game a week on Facebook, enabling people to watch live baseball while connecting with friends and fellow fans on the platform.

In a statement to Digiday, Greg Gittrich, Chief Content Officer of Mashable, said:

“Video hasn’t been promoted on Facebook in this way before. Watch is going to be a place where people go to watch shows and series, which makes it exciting for us.”

In a separate statement Daniel Danker, Director of Product at Facebook said:

“As people are watching more and more video on Facebook, they want a place they can go to reliably and dependably watch video. A year ago, we launched the video tab, which did that, but it did not necessarily make it easy for people to keep up with the creators they know.”

Right now, Facebook Watch is seen by many as a direct competitor of the Google-owned Youtube, where people can search and watch all sort of videos.

Facebook also admitted that they had funded some of the original shows as examples, but clearly stated that these are only a small percentage of all the available shows.

“We want any publisher/creator who is interested to be able to create a show in the future. So there will be hundreds of shows at launch, and we’ll hopefully scale to thousands,” a company spokesperson said.

It should be noted that the move is reminiscent of Youtube’s investments in original video programming in 2012. It was reported then that the company spent over 100 million USD to fund original video content channels from celebrities, digital video creators, and media companies.

What separates Facebook Watch from Youtube is the fact that Facebook acts more as a discovery platform for people to find things in their News Feed, noted Oren Katzeff, Head of Programming for Tastemade.

“Prior to this, if you were to have just a bird’s eye view, the difference between YouTube and Facebook was that YouTube was a search video platform — you were looking for a specific thing, found it and then found yourself in a rabbit hole still watching videos two hours later.

Facebook has been more of a discovery platform, where you find stuff in your feed. You’re not necessarily going to Facebook for video. This is more of a shift toward getting people to purposely go to Facebook to watch a show. As a programmer, that’s incredibly exciting especially when Facebook has said they are going to invest a lot of equity and energy into this.”

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and Co-Founder of Facebook firmly believes that “it’s possible to rethink a lot of experiences through the lens of building community — including watching video.”  He said that watching a show does not have to be passive. Instead, it could be a chance to bring people together by sharing experiences.

Should Youtube be bothered by this new move from Facebook? Let us know in the comment section below!

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