Facebook is entering the original video content market with the launch of a new video viewing platform called Watch.
On Facebook, the dedicated TV show section will feature both live and recorded shows and will be available on mobile, desktop and Facebook’s TV apps.
“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,” said Daniel Danker, Facebook’s director of product in a release.
Watch is different from the social media site’s video tab that was offered in the US last year on Facebook’s mobile app. This new tab will host live sports, reality TV shows, comedy shows and original Facebook-funded content. One video series backed by the social media giant is a community-oriented show called Returning the Favor hosted by Dirty Jobs’ Mike Rowe. Facebook also plans to broadcast one Major League Baseball game every week.
The launch of this latest platform positions Facebook in competition with Netflix, Google-owned YouTube and TV itself.
Watch will help users discover new shows through different sections curated based on the show’s popularity via platform conversations, the number of ‘ha ha’ reactions, and what Facebook friends are following.
Video has become a key driver of Facebook’s ad revenue and the original programming on the platform could give revenue a boost. TechCrunch reported the company will earn 45 per cent of ad revenue from partner-produced videos.
The show viewing platform is currently available to a limited group of users in the US, but Facebook said they plan to bring Watch to more people in the coming weeks. For now, a limited group of content creators and producers can post their shows with the new feature.