Facebook is expanding its focus on video by introducing a new service called Watch, which will see the company enter the world of original content for the first time.
Available for desktop, mobile and TV apps, the new Watch tab will appear on users’ newsfeeds. It will include links to a variety of shows — including comedy, reality TV and live sport — some of which will be created by Facebook. The move puts Facebook into more direct competition with services like YouTube, as well as Netflix, Amazon, and Apple.
Making viewing videos less passive
Watch will also let users create watchlists, check out what they’re friends are watching, and communicate with other people who are watching the same video content to make the viewing experience more interactive. Users will be able to sift through content according to classifications like “What’s Making People Laugh” and more.
“Watching a show doesn’t have to be passive,” said Mark Zuckerberg. “It can be a chance to share an experience and bring people together who care about the same things. That’s why we’re launching the Watch tab in Facebook – a place where you can discover shows your friends are watching and follow your favourite shows and creators so you don’t miss any episodes.”
Shows initially available on the service will include Nas Daily, following a creator and his fans; Gabby Bernstein, an interactive show from a life coach and motivational speaker; Kitchen Little, a cooking show for kids; and Major League Baseball games.
The new service will roll out over the coming weeks, initially in the United States.
How will Facebook measure up?
It comes at a time when more and more companies are entering the original content game. This week, Apple launched its second original show with the not-entirely-well-received Carpool Karaoke, while Disney is also creating its own Netflix rival subscription service.
As a social media company, Facebook’s move is a smart one. The introduction of services like Instagram’s Stories increases user engagement, and prompts people to use it more often and for longer periods of time. Attempts to make television more interactive hasn’t always worked out in the past, but if Facebook can pull this off in an intuitive way, it would be well-placed to succeed.
How do you think the company will fare in this area? Leave your comments below.