You might have heard of Facebook’s latest creation, a video platform simply named Watch. First introduced in early August, Facebook Watch is slowly becoming available to Facebook users, first in the United States, and then, hopefully, worldwide.
It has come to replace Facebook’s US only Video tab, which offered American users a place dedicated to video watching. But Watch is ready to take things one step further.
It will not only regroup videos you usually stumble upon when using Facebook, but will also sponsor and produce new content, hoping to become a strong contender to the likes of YouTube, or even Netflix.
The platform will be available on iOS, Android, desktop, laptop and TV apps.
The videos will vary from the usual content currently available on Facebook, regrouped in one place, to professional productions closer to TV Series than Periscope. Facebook mentioned that some videos or shows will be live, and others will include live segments. Watch will offer a ‘Watchlist’ (much like on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video) to help you stay up to date with your favourite shows.
With Watch, Facebook hopes to “connect people, spark conversation and further foster community".
The platform borrows from the previous Video Tab, but also from another popular Facebook creation: Facebook Live. Live enables users to broadcast content to their friends or followers, who are welcome to react and comment on what’s happening. Watch will not only also allow ‘live’ comments and reactions, it will feed off of them to offer you a better user experience.
The platform will be personalised so that you can find what your friends are watching, what’s been greatly popular in the week (‘Most Talked About’, based on the number of comments) or the funniest content (‘What’s making people laugh’ based on the number of ‘haha’ reactions used on the video).
Watch will also give you the possibility to join a Facebook group dedicated to the show you’re watching, so that you’ll easily be able to discuss it with other fans.
For now, only a select group of creators and publishers have been able to create content for the platform, but Facebook hopes to give the opportunity to more and more people in the future.
If you’re interested, you can register your interest to create a show for Facebook Watch here. Facebook hopes that Watch will help “all creators and publishers to find an audience, build a community of passionate fans and earn money for their work”.
The company intends to monetise Watch, so the videos will likely include ad breaks. Publishers will also have the opportunity to creates Sponsored Stories.
In a blogpost, Facebook has given pointers as to what content they think will best fit Watch. It mentions: “shows that engage fans and communities, live shows that connect directly with fans, shows that follow a narrative arc or have a consistent theme and live events that bring communities together”.
The shows currently available on the platform seem to fit into these categories. They include Facebook-funded shows such as ‘Returning the Favor with Mike Rowe’, a program in which Mike Rowe will shine a light on hard working individuals who have done a lot for their communities (the people on the show will be nominated by Rowe’s Facebook fans); or the Humans of New York Series, which features video footage of new interviews from the very popular Facebook page.
You will also be able watch ‘Kitchen Little’, a show by Tastemade in which kids will be reading ‘how-to’ recipes to chefs who then will have to make them, or ‘Gabby Bernstein’, in which the best-selling author and motivational speaker will directly answer fans questions and provide general advice.
Nicole Byer’s show, ‘Loosely Exactly Nicole’, canceled by MTV, was picked-up by Facebook and will also be available on ‘Watch’. The fact that the company decided to pick up a canceled show might give hope to fans and attract supporters of canceled programs to the platform. Facebook will also broadcast one Major League Baseball game every week, proving it is dedicated to covering a wide range of content, making it easy for anyone to find something they enjoy.
We have already watched 100 millions of hours worth of video on Facebook. If the company succeeds in finding the right type of content to ensure people will come back to it regularly, ‘Facebook Watch’ may have a real impact on how we watch TV.