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Facebook has launched Watch, a dedicated platform for online video. Watch will replace the existing Video tab, and be populated by shows. I know, this new terminology is hard to understand. Watch represents Facebook making a concerted effort to compete with YouTube et al.
Video is becoming an increasingly important medium online. From streaming sites to vloggers sharing their lives, from viral videos to websites publishing videos. YouTube popularized online video, but plenty of other sites are now trying to muscle in on their territory. Including Facebook.
A New Platform for Shows on Facebook
The social network describes Watch as “a new platform for shows on Facebook”. These shows are “made up of episodes — live or recorded — and follow a theme or storyline”. In other words, Watch isn’t going to be populated with videos of cats being cute. Instead, it will be populated with original content delivered in an episodic format.
Facebook hopes Watch will be “home to a wide range of shows, from reality to comedy to live sports”. And to help kickstart the platform the company has funded shows such as Returning the Favor hosted by Mike Rowe. Other partners already on board include Major League Baseball, A&E, Billboard, National Geographic, and NASA. All of which will earn 55% of the advertising revenue.
Taking its cue from other platforms, Watch will include a Watchlist to ensure you never miss a new episode of your favorite shows. And content will be organized depending on what your communities are watching. Sections include “Most Talked About,” “What’s Making People Laugh,” and “What Friends Are Watching”.
Facebook is rolling Watch out slowly. Initially it will only be available to a select group of users in the U.S. However, over time Facebook will push Watch out to more people in the U.S. and eventually beyond. Watch will be available mobile, desktop, and Facebook’s smart TV apps.
Facebook Goes Gunning for the Competition
With Watch, Facebook is gunning for several different websites. In terms of building a dedicated space for online video, YouTube. In terms of producing original content viewers can’t watch anywhere else, Netflix. And in terms of publishing short-form content from producers, Snapchat.
Do you watch videos on Facebook? Do these tend to be videos showing up in your News Feed? Or do you ever go looking for videos? Can you see yourself watching original content on Facebook? Or will you be sticking to other sites? The comments are open below.
Image Credit: Denis Dervisevic via Flickr