Back in February 2017, we spoke about how Facebook is working on an app for Set-top boxes. Well, it appears that the social media giant is just one step closer to achieving that goal. Facebook Watch, the company’s redesigned video platform will begin its initial rollout from today to a small amount of users.
In case you were wondering, Facebook Watch is a video platform from Facebook that would stream original content sponsored by Facebook, together with video content from other creators. The content from Facebook Watch will be accessible via a tab that will also be personalized according to your interests over a period of time. According to Facebook, Facebook Watch will begin replacing the existing video tab with the new tab beginning from tomorrow (11th August) for its Android, iOS, web, and TV apps.
With the launch of Facebook Watch come a number of shows such as Nas Daily, featuring a creator who makes a daily video with his fans, Gabby Bernstein, an interactive show from the motivational speaker and Kitchen Little, from publisher Tastemade, which follows kids making recipes with professional chefs. In addition, Facebook has also struck a deal with Major League Baseball to broadcast one live game per week.
If Facebook Watch is successful, that would mean an entirely new source of revenue for Facebook. They could also be a competitor to other content creators such as YouTube, Amazon, and Netflix. However, Facebook has one hurdle to overcome; they will have to prove that their users will watch longer videos and the accompanying mid-video advertisements inside their app.
In terms of revenue generation, Facebook’s initial plan was to pay creators to create original content that would appear in Facebook Watch. As time went on, the company decided to cease up-front payments and opted to go with generating revenue by taking 45 percent of the revenues generated by ads.
The Watch tab will have two sections; Discover and Watchlist. The Discover section would be a collection of suggested video content such as what your friends are watching, most talked about videos, and even videos that are over 10 minutes in duration. The Watchlist section would be a collection of videos that you can watch later.
If you like a video, you can subscribe to the show and be notified when new episodes or content from the show are published. Currently, publishers have to be invited onto the Watch tab. In the future, Facebook will assumedly allow anyone to publish content. With dozens of shows already available on Facebook, by the time Facebook Watch is made available to all, you can expect that number to be in the hundreds or even thousands.
For now, the all-important question is will it work out and will it be profitable? Well, for now it’s a matter of time. Though there is a strong case in favor of Facebook. For example, with Facebook hitting a milestone of 2 Billion monthly users, most of whom have quite an appetite for consuming video, it seems fair to say that any videos published by Facebook will be viewed at some point by somebody.
Adding to this is that Facebook also has a number of agreements for Facebook Watch from a number of large publishers and media companies all of whom are eager to find a new audience to cater to and to renew their sources of revenue. Thirdly, Facebook’s product team is very good at copying the best of other services and integrating them into their own apps, updating them over time to maximize their attractiveness to users. Additionally, the company aims to be more aggressive in finding ways to introduce advertising and monetization into its messaging products; Messenger and WhatsApp, meaning that it’s possible that both these apps will get more features added to them as well.
On the other hand, the current marketplace for video content is extremely saturated with big names such as Netflix, Hulu, HBO, and Amazon. Then you have user generated content from the like of Vimeo and YouTube of which the latter has close to a 12-year head start grabbing the attention of video creators and viewers.
Still, it would certainly be foolhardy to underestimate Facebook. They have all the financial resources they need, coupled with extremely high levels of patience. Even if they fail in short term goals, they have sufficient resources piled up to be in the long haul as well.
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