& cplSiteName &

Facebook Flexes Its Video Muscle With Launch of 'Watch'

Aditya Kishore
8/10/2017
50%
50%

Facebook has announced the launch of Watch, a new 'channel' dedicated to video shows on the social network. It will be available across multiple devices -- mobile, computers, TV apps -- and will comprise multiple episodic shows (recorded and live).

Facebook announced the launch of the service, which will be made available soon to a limited number of users, via a post on its site Wednesday. The author of the post, Daniel Danker, Facebook's Director of Product, said that while users liked the "serendipity of discovering videos in News Feed," he felt they also wanted a dedicated place for video. That led the team to launch a video Tab for US users last year: Watch is designed to expand and improve that experience.

Facebook's New Video "Watch" Tab
Source: Facebook
Source: Facebook

Watch will be personalized and will have a "Watchlist" to remind users of shows waiting to be seen. It will list shows friends are watching, shows that spur the most comments and discussions, and the shows that make people laugh (i.e., that get the most "Ha Ha" comments). It also allows users to add and view comments, connect with friends directly while watching shows and join dedicated Facebook Groups for a particular show.

Danker also identified a few formats he thought would be well-suited to the nature of the video service. The first genre he listed was shows that engage with communities, citing Nas Daily, which is created along with fans of the show's producer. Other examples cited include: A motivational speaker who answers questions in real time; a show that instructs children how to cook a dish and then has them teach professional chefs; and a game per week from Major League Baseball (MLB).

Facebook has already funded some shows to demonstrate the community-oriented type of content that it believes will be successful on its platform. It's CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, has repeatedly talked about the importance of video to the social network's future strategy. (See Video Bigger Business Driver Than Messenger – Zuckerberg.)

In a post on Facebook yesterday, he noted: "We believe it's possible to rethink a lot of experiences through the lens of building community -- including watching video. Watching a show doesn't have to be passive. It can be a chance to share an experience and bring people together who care about the same things."

It makes sense for Facebook to try and create a new form of video entertainment, given the staggering quantity and variety now available across pay-TV, YouTube and the various subscription VoD services. And it's logical to try and take advantage of its huge base of 2 billion-plus monthly active users by linking interaction, discussion and "community" elements to the video experience.

But video viewing is primarily driven by more traditionally defined "premium" content -- high quality scripted comedies and dramas, and premium sports content. Others, such as Snapchat, Twitter and YouTube, are further along in terms of licensing, commissioning and distributing that kind of content. (See Twitter Ramps Up Premium Video Content.)

Still, Facebook is optimistic it can attract that kind of content as well. It's looking for more deals with major content providers such as the MLB as well as encouraging content creators and publishers to use its platform. While revenue shares and pricing have not been disclosed by the company, a report on TechCrunch states that content creators will receive 55% of ad revenue generated on their content, while Facebook keeps the rest.

The service is due to launch today, but only to a limited audience. The service will be launched across the US in coming weeks, and approximately 40 shows will be debuted to the broader audience on 28 August, according to sources quoted in a Business Insider report.

Given the size of Facebook's staggering user base, anything it does is likely to have an impact. But at the same time, there's a lot of video services out there. A straightforward Netflix-like strategy is unlikely to work for the company, so it does need to look at a different way to approach the market, even if the eventual goal is to become the primary source of all video entertainment across genres.

The key to the social network's success with video is how well it does two things: Firstly, whether it can develop the right content for the niche it is targeting, this "community-led" video experience, that combines high-quality production with comments, discussions and interaction; and secondly, whether it can integrate that content effectively with the user-generated content it offers via live streaming and news feed posts.

If it's able to engage viewers across both formats, then it should be possible to monetize those experiences. And it will provide a very strong foundation for the social network to then expand to more traditional, longer-form genres of content, such as TV shows and movies, taking on both pay-TV providers and the OTT heavyweights such as Netflix and Amazon.

Aditya Kishore, Practice Leader, Video Transformation, Telco Transformation

(3)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
kq4ym
50%
50%
kq4ym,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/23/2017 | 5:08:53 PM
Re: Watch out!
As noted, " it's logical to try and take advantage of its huge base of 2 billion-plus monthly active users." While there obviously lots of eyeballs out there on the platform, I would guess there's probably going to be less "interactivity" than Facebook might want, but there will be lots of folks just merely curious or bored that will watch millions of hours of video there.
242ak
50%
50%
242ak,
User Rank: Moderator
8/14/2017 | 7:50:18 AM
Re: Watch out!
Yes, definitely more of a threat to YouTube than Netflix. And Snapchat more than either, I suspect. I think FB is genuinely trying to find the right kind of video content to suit the nature of its platform, so more inherently social, interaction-oriented and maybe even individual-centric. Snapchat is probably the closest in terms of the type of content it is offering, and working towards offering. 

I think the threat to Netflix is more long term, if FB does become an important repository for professionally produced content and decides to grow its library, and add longer-form movies, dramas, comedies etc. But also I think Netflix will start to broaden the type of content it offers as well -- we'll see more celebrity-following, reality-type content start to show up because the economics are great. But i think that's still a little while out. 
James_B_Crawshaw
50%
50%
James_B_Crawshaw,
User Rank: Blogger
8/10/2017 | 2:25:37 PM
Watch out!
Looks like more of a competitive threat to YouTube than Netflix, at least initially. Still it makes Reed Hasting's position on Facebook's board look untenable. 
Featured Video
From The Founder
Light Reading is spending much of this year digging into the details of how automation technology will impact the comms market, but let's take a moment to also look at how automation is set to overturn the current world order by the middle of the century.
Flash Poll
Upcoming Live Events
October 18, 2017, Colorado Convention Center - Denver, CO
November 1, 2017, The Royal Garden Hotel
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 2, 2017, 8 Northumberland Avenue, London, UK
November 2, 2017, 8 Northumberland Avenue London
November 10, 2017, The Westin Times Square, New York, NY
November 16, 2017, ExCel Centre, London
November 30, 2017, The Westin Times Square
May 14-17, 2018, Austin Convention Center
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
The Big Cable DAA Update
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 10/11/2017
Is US Lurching Back to Monopoly Status?
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 10/16/2017
Pai's FCC Raises Alarms at Competitive Carriers
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 10/16/2017
DT: Brutal Automation Is Only Way to Succeed
Iain Morris, News Editor, 10/10/2017
Telecom Italia Covers 73% of Italy With NB-IoT
Iain Morris, News Editor, 10/13/2017
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Understanding the full experience of women in technology requires starting at the collegiate level (or sooner) and studying the technologies women are involved with, company cultures they're part of and personal experiences of individuals.

During this WiC radio show, we will talk with Nicole Engelbert, the director of Research & Analysis for Ovum Technology and a 23-year telecom industry veteran, about her experiences and perspectives on women in tech. Engelbert covers infrastructure, applications and industries for Ovum, but she is also involved in the research firm's higher education team and has helped colleges and universities globally leverage technology as a strategy for improving recruitment, retention and graduation performance.

She will share her unique insight into the collegiate level, where women pursuing engineering and STEM-related degrees is dwindling. Engelbert will also reveal new, original Ovum research on the topics of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, security and augmented reality, as well as discuss what each of those technologies might mean for women in our field. As always, we'll also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air and chat board.

Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed