Can’t touch this
Despite the increasing amount of video on Facebook, the social media site still can’t touch YouTube. While Facebook users enjoy discovering videos on their News Feed, folks specifically looking for videos to watch still look to YouTube.
To boot, they often end up falling down an Internet hole and emerging only hours later having watched dozens of videos.
Facebook would like to change that. Last year they introduced a Video tab, and that feature is being expanded into a full-blown platform called Watch.
According to Facebook’s newsroom blog, Watch is a “dedicated place” for video.
Watch will host Shows, which are currently being created by a select number of partners, but Facebook hopes to make the feature available to all content creators in the future, and to give publishers a chance to profit from their Shows by incorporating Ad Breaks.
Oren Katzeff of Tastemade, which is producing two food-themed Shows, says that Watch is “a shift towards getting people to purposely go to Facebook to watch a show” in the way they do with YouTube.
TV be gone!
Right now, Facebook is funding some shows to get the idea off the ground, but hopes that eventually publishers will fund their own shows. Facebook says their “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.”
Currently, Shows are either 30-minute episodes, or shorter “spotlight” features.
For example, Major League Baseball will air one game per week every Friday night. Shows will each have their own page where users can learn about the Show, connect with each other, leave comments, and “like” the Show, which will cause new episodes to appear automatically in their Watchlist.
The personalized Watchlist will also highlight the “Most Talked About” Shows and will have sections such as “What’s Making People Laugh” and “What Friends Are Watching.”
At this time, Watch is only available to a small test audience, but Facebook hopes to roll it out to the general public soon. It will work on mobile, desktop, and laptops.
If Watch takes off, it could easily spin off into its own app the way Messenger did.
Not impossible, just really hard
Facebook has its work cut out for it if it wants to compete with dedicated video platforms like YouTube and original content creators like Netflix.
But for brands that already have a strong Facebook following, putting a Show on Watch could be a great way to engage the community and build an audience.