Facebook launches 'Watch', new platform for original video content, to take on YouTube, TV

In a bid to become a home to original video content, Facebook has rolled out a new platform called "Watch" on Thursday for shows that will be produced exclusively for it by partners. The new service, which will feature about 40 original series, will first be introduced to a limited number of people in the US, followed by users in other parts of the world soon.
The new "Watch" platform is said to be a redesigned version of the company's "Video" tab, which was launched last year by the social media giant to offer users "a predictable place to find videos on Facebook." According to the company, the new platform will be available on mobile, desktop and its TV apps.
Facebook launches 'Watch', new platform for original video content, to take on YouTube, TV
Facebook launches
"Watch is personalized to help you discover new shows, organized around what your friends and communities are watching," Daniel Danker, director of product at Facebook, wrote in a blog post on Wednesday. "Watch is a platform for all creators and publishers to find an audience, build a community of passionate fans, and earn money for their work."
"Watch" will feature a range of shows that are made up of either live or recorded episodes. Some of the shows include "Nas Daily," "Gabby Bernstein" and "Kitchen Little." Facebook has also reportedly signed a deal with Major League Baseball to broadcast one live game per week.
"We hope Watch will be home to a wide range of shows -- from reality to comedy to live sports. Some will be made by professional creators, and others from regular people in our community," Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post.
Facebook Watch video platform.
All these shows will be organised into sections like "Most Talked About," "What's Making People Laugh" and "What Friends Are Watching." There will also be Watchlist, allowing users to subscribe to updates on new episodes of their favourite shows.
Facebook said that it has funded some of the shows "to help inspire creators and seed the ecosystem" of original video content. Tech Crunch, meanwhile, reported that the company will keep 45 percent of the ad revenue from videos produced by its partners.
In May, Facebook reportedly signed deals with video-content producers including Vox Media, BuzzFeed, ATTN and Group Nine Media to make shows for its upcoming video service.
Sources told Reuters at the time that Facebook was planning two types of videos: long scripted shows with episodes lasting 20 to 30 minutes, and short scripted and unscripted shows with episodes lasting about 5 to 10 minutes. The company, however, was apparently planning to own only the longer shows.
Although rivals like YouTube and Snapchat have already experimented with original video content creation, Facebook's "Watch" will have an advantage because of its cross-platform nature. If successful, "Watch" will pave way for a new method of advertising without messing up users' News Feed while also helping Facebook retain its 2 billion users on its site longer.
At a time when the News Feed has already become a popular way of discovering serendipitous videos on Facebook, "Watch" with original shows will give users yet another strong reason to spend even longer time on the social networking site.
"Watching a show doesn't have to be passive," Zuckerberg said. "You'll be able to chat and connect with people during an episode, and join groups with people who like the same shows afterwards to build community."