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Facebook has officially opened the doors on its original video content to everyone in the U.S.
After a limited rollout period conducted last month, and expansion to more users just last week, Facebook is now opening up the Watch tab to its native mobile app, desktop site, and TV apps.
Watch allows users to directly subscribe to their favorite content creators, receiving updates when a new video is posted. U.S. Facebook users will now see a new TV icon lurking in their navigation bar.
It isn’t only content from existing creators. The Facebook Watch tab launch features original programming, too. Users will be able to watch mini-documentary series Humans of New York (transformed from the inspirational and well-followed Facebook page).
In addition, there’s Returning the Favor, a sort of Extreme Makeover-style series following charitable efforts by community members and how they are repaid, and Ball in the Family, following Lavar Ball and his basketballing wunderkinds Lonzo, LiAngelo, and LaMelo.
The Watch tab also features several options for finding new video content. These include a carousel of featured shows, alongside categories such as “Today’s Spotlight,” “New This Week,” “Popular Now,” “What Friends Are Watching,” “Most Talked About,” “Suggested For You,” and a special “10 Minutes Or More” spot for long-form videos.
The Future is Facebook
Are these shows heading to the Emmys? Unlikely, it has to be said. But it represents a very serious step forward for Facebook into the world of on-demand television, and the first swathe of programming clearly appeals to a core Facebook demographic. Furthermore, the early focus on documentary and reality shows maintains a focus on cheap, easily-scripted (or non-scripted) programming. Anyone with an idea and a bit of time could benefit at the current time.
But to really take audiences away from Amazon and Netflix, Facebook is going to have to mirror the level of investment put into original programming on those platforms.
And while Facebook has extremely large pockets and an unfathomably large check-book, they won’t spend without an idea of at least some return.
Do you look forward to seeing what original programming Facebook will deliver? Or is it simply another fish in an already-overcrowded pond? Give us your thoughts on Facebook watch in the comments below!