Facebook will roll out its strategic threat to YouTube, Amazon, and Netflix tomorrow.
Initially available to a limited group in the US on Facebook’s mobile app, website and television apps, Watch is Facebook’s biggest push to video since April 2016, when its live broadcasting venture fell largely flat.
As a redesign of Facebook’s current Video tab, Watch will feature some original shows financed by Facebook, as well as videos from other creators.
The shows available at launch include:
- Nas Daily, from the creator with 1.8M Facebook likes who makes one minute long clips each day.
- Gabby Bernstein, a motivational speaker and author of the book The Universe Has Your Back
- And Kitchen Little, which follows kids making recipes with professional chefs.
Facebook is also broadcasting videos from the Women’s National Basketball Association, Time Inc., National Geographic and Major League Baseball. Its deal with Major League Baseball will see Facebook broadcast one live game per week in the US.
The goal of Watch is for the tab to become personalised to your interests over time; and with 2 billion people glued to its app for close to an hour on average each day, it has all the makings to compete with YouTube.
It has a long way to go; YouTube has 12 years on Facebook when it comes to attracting creators and viewers.
Facebook does plan to stop funding shows and instead take 45% of ad-generated revenue, but it’s still in the testing stage of inviting publishers to post on the Watch tab.
More than that, it may have inked a few deals with publishers and entertainment companies, but the music industry is yet to join the club.
That’s not for a lack of trying; throughout this year Facebook has announced eight new positions to assemble a team of music rights professionals including a Legal Director Music Licensing, a Music Business Development Manager and a Music Publishing Business Development Manager.
Soon though, any content publisher can feature on Watch, and similar to Facebook, every show has a comments section which could prove more entertaining than the show itself.
Daniel Danker, who leads Facebook’s product management for video, said in a statement:
“What makes watching Facebook videos special is your friends. You discover videos through your friends. You often find yourself discussing videos with friends. Video has this amazing power to bring people together and build community.”