Facebook Watch, the company’s video-on-demand service and answer to YouTube, is now launching worldwide. It will also be available to publishers and viewers globally. Watch first launched a year ago only in the US with a slate of original programmes. Facebook claims to have over 50 million users who watch videos for 60 seconds, while time spent on Watch had increased 14 times in 2018.
The ‘Watch’ tab will be curated from videos published by Facebook pages users follow, users can save videos for later (a feature available also on YouTube). Facebook also launched Watch Parties earlier this year: users could invite friends to watch a video together and add comments and like in real-time.
Facebook had reportedly signed on Buzzfeed, Vox Media, ATTN, Group Nine Media and others to produce original content for Watch. Vox Media teamed up with Netflix to produce ‘Explained’ — a series of explanatory videos which Vox is known for.
Facebook will also allow more creators to place ad-breaks on their videos. For now, ad breaks will only available in the US, UK, Ireland, New Zealand and Australia. They will be rolled out for over 20 countries in Latin America, Europe and Thailand by September, and globally over the next few months. VentureBeat reports that publishers and content creators will retain 55% of ad revenues, with Facebook scooping up the rest.
Facebook’s global foray into video content pits it against likes of Youtube, Netflix, Amazon etc. Its investment of $1 billion is also much smaller than its rival Netflix which had a budget of $6 billion in 2017 and Amazon which had a budget of $4.5 billion for content.
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