Facebook (FB) has introduced a new way for viewers to watch videos on its social network, creating a TV-like hub filled with original content to rival the likes of Alphabet Inc's (GOOGL) YouTube, Netflix (NFLX) and Snap (SNAP). We're introducing "Watch", a new platform for shows on Facebook.
Initially, Watch will be available to a limited group of Facebook users in the United States and more widely to US users in the coming weeks, Facebook, said.
By contrast, some industry observers think Facebook Watch is just a fancy extension to Facebook's newsfeed. "It can be a chance to share an experience and bring people together who care about the same things", wrote Facebook CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg in a post.
Facebook is straying further into YouTube territory. In other words, pretty much any type of television. And given that Facebook is closing in on almost two billion monthly users, it could provide publishers with a massive viewing audience.
Facebook has announced plans to enter the world of video streaming and unveiled Watch, a new section of the social media app that will be dedicated to TV shows. A Watchlist feature lets you subscribe to updates on new episodes of your favorite shows.
Watch will be customised according to what users, their friends and the communities they're part of are consuming, Facebook says - but will also feature sections such as "Most Talked About" and "What's Making People Laugh" to help steer users to shows they might like. "Our goal is for Watch to be a platform for all creators and publishers to find an audience, build a community of passionate fans, and earn money for their work".
Shows that engage fans and community. Some of the shows are pre-recorded, whereas others are streamed live.
Shows that follow a narrative arc or have a consistent theme. Unsurprisingly, the food doesn't always turn out as expected.
Facebook also said that it's funding shows that are community-oriented and have a series of episodes, but did not specify the amount.
The service will also include a weekly Major League Baseball game. One producer noticed Facebook's algorithm began favoring videos over two minutes as opposed to shorter clips about five months ago. "Watch is going to be a place where people go to watch shows and series, which makes it exciting for us". It's already become a powerhouse in serendipitous video discovery via the News Feed, and Watch will surely provide enough suggestions to get people hooked on shows they weren't expecting. "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". "So there will be hundreds of shows at launch, and we'll hopefully scale to thousands".
It should be noted that the move is reminiscent of Youtube's investments in original video programming in 2012.
Facebook is giving its original video content creators a new channel to promote their content.
In an apparent bid to take on Google-owned YouTube, Facebook has rolled out "Watch" - a redesigned video platform for creators and publishers.