Video on demand services are popping up every other day, from the likes of Netflix, ShowMax and iFlix to local (Kenyan) mainstream media such as Royal Media Services launching their own VOD platform, Viusasa. Video uptake has gone up significantly, this is evident by the massive pickets YouTube has and by the latest entry into the game by Facebook.
Facebook has announced that its redesigned video platform, Watch, is officially rolling out albeit to a small percentage of users first. Watch is a dedicated videos tab within Facebook that will feature original shows produced by Facebook and videos from other creators in partnership with the company. Watch will be replacing the current videos tab within Facebook.
“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,” Facebook wrote in a post. “We think Watch will be home to a wide range of shows, from reality to comedy to live sports.”
Speaking of shows, at launch, shows such as Nas Daily which features 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, will be available. US’ Major League Baseball will also broadcast one live game per week on the platform.
At the moment, Facebook paid creators to make some of the shows that will be available on Watch, however, the company plans to go the YouTube way and instead of upfront payments, share ad revenues on a 55-45 percent basis with content creators. For now, only invited creators can post on the platform, but Facebook plans to open it up to everyone in the near future.
The setup of the watch tab looks a lot like what you would find on YouTube as opposed to what you would find on Netflix. The tab is divided into two sections, discover, which suggest videos for you and watchlist which houses the videos from creators you follow. Under the discover section, there are categories such as “What friends are watching,” “most talked about,” and “what’s making people laugh, there’s also a category for videos longer than 10 minutes.
Facebook is betting on its 2 billion user base and the ‘community factor’ to push the success of its video on demand platform. “What makes watching Facebook videos special is your friends,” said Daniel Danker, Product Manager for video at Facebook. “You discover videos through your friends. You often find yourself discussing videos with friends. Video has this amazing power to bring people together and build community,” he added.
Will it succeed? Only you can answer that. How many videos do you watch on Facebook? And would you watch a full 45-minute series on Facebook?