August 9, 2017 4 months 1 week ago

Facebook to launch premium video portal Watch on Thursday

MENLO PARK, Calif. – Social media platform Facebook will launch a brand new video platform Thursday (to a limited number of American users, first) as its initial step into producing its own premium video content.

Called Watch, the company says this is a new platform for TV shows on Facebook and will be available on mobile, PCs, and in its TV apps.

Watch is personalized to help users discover new shows, organized around what Facebook friends and communities are watching, says the company. There will be sections like “Most Talked About,” “What’s Making People Laugh,” (which includes shows where many people have used the “Haha” reaction), and “What Friends Are Watching”. Also, when a Facebook user watches a show, live comments will be visible.

“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. We think a wide variety of Facebook shows can be successful,” said the company’s annoucement.

For example, Nas Daily publishes a daily show where he makes videos together with his fans from around the world; author Gabby Bernstein, uses a combination of recorded and live episodes to connect with her fans and answer questions in real time; Tastemade’s Kitchen Little is a funny show about kids who watch a how-to video of a recipe, then instruct professional chefs on how to make it.

Facebook will also use Watch for live events, beginning with a Friday Major League Baseball game of the week.

The company has also already funded some shows that are examples of community-oriented and episodic video series. For example, Returning the Favor is a series hosted by Mike Rowe (of Dirty Jobs fame) where he finds people working in and for their community, tells the world about it, and then in turn does something extraordinary for them

Watch will be introduced to a limited group of people in the U.S. at first and the company will also be opening up Shows to a limited group of creators- with a plan to roll out to all soon.

“Watching video on Facebook has the incredible power to connect people, spark conversation, and foster community,” wrote Daniel Danker, director of product for Facebook in the blog post announcing Watch. “On Facebook, videos are discovered through friends and bring communities together. As more and more people enjoy this experience, we’ve learned that people like the serendipity of discovering videos in News Feed, but they also want a dedicated place they can go to watch videos. That’s why last year we launched the Video tab in the U.S., which offered a predictable place to find videos on Facebook. Now we want to make it even easier to catch up with shows you love.”