Facebook issues a challenge by unveiling Watch, its own proprietary video platform

The social media giant is setting itself up to take on YouTube and Google, as well as services like Netflix and Hulu

Facebook app on phone

Facebook is officially stepping into the original programming ring, with the launch of its updated video platform.

The Menlo Park-based social networking giant unveiled its “Watch” platform yesterday, issuing a direct challenge to digital video content producers.

According to Daniel Danker, Facebook’s director of product, 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.”

The platform will feature a collection of original creator-controlled content, as well content like “shows that follow a narrative arc or have a consistent theme.”

“We think Watch will be home to a wide range of shows, from reality to comedy to live sports,” said Danker, in an August 9th, 2017 media release. “To help inspire creators and seed the ecosystem, we’ve also funded some shows that are examples of community-oriented and episodic video series.”

An image showcasing Facebook Watch's desktop interface

Based on screenshots alone, it seems that Facebook has already secured some form of partnership for a show with Mike Rowe, as well as a licensing partnership with Major League Baseball.

Facebook first launched its video platform on June 22nd, 2017, and since then, videos on Facebook have grown into a multimillion dollar enterprise.

Today, Facebook is no longer just a place for friends to share videos with each other. It’s a place for targeted ad-based video content, original creator-driven content and almost everything in between.

In fact, Facebook’s ranking algorithm favours original videos posted to Facebook, rather than links to videos hosted elsewhere.

A video is more likely to do well on Facebook if a user posts it directly through Facebook’s video platform, rather than linking to it from a service like YouTube or Vimeo.

A way to encourage more Facebooking

With Watch, Facebook is not only reaffirming its commitment to original content posted to Facebook, it’s also a direct attempt to wall-off the website from outside influences.

However, Facebook Watch seems to be more than just another YouTube competitor or an attempt to get people to spend more time on its site.

Instead, with its new commitment to original programming as well as live sports, Watch seems to be Facebook’s attempts to lure users from paid streaming services like Netflix, Crave TV, and Crackle — as well as services like HBO Go, Hulu, and the upcoming CBS All Access and DAZN.

An image showing the Facebook Watch interface, with six programming examples

Facebook has yet to officially launch its Watch platform to all users. Instead, it’s currently only available to a small group of users based in the U.S.

Danker did not specify when Facebook would officially release Watch for the general public.

Facebook Watch will be available on all of Facebook’s apps, including desktop, mobile, laptop, and its TV apps.

Source: Facebook

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