After months of rumors, Facebook's original TV plans are official.
The social network, which has been focusing hardcore on video lately with a big push into live video broadcasts, 360-degree videos, stories, and auto-playing clips in the news feed, said its users have been asking for a dedicated place to watch videos on Facebook, other than in the news feed and that video tab it launched in the US last year. So, it decided to develop a whole new platform: Watch.
Here's what you need to know about Facebook Watch.
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What is Facebook Watch?
Facebook described Watch as a new platform for shows on Facebook. These shows have “episodes” - both live and recorded - that follow a theme or storyline. Watch features original programming backed by Facebook, as well as videos from other creators. All sorts of creators and publishers can use Watch, as Facebook put it, “to find an audience, build a community of passionate fans, and earn money for their work.”
Which shows can you watch at launch?
Watch seems like a cross between YouTube and Netflix.
At launch, you can watch: Nas Daily, which features a creator who makes a daily videos with his fans; Gabby Bernstein, an interactive show from the author/motivational speaker; Kitchen Little, from publisher Tastemade, which features kids making recipes with chefs; and Returning the Favor, a series hosted by Mike Rowe, where he finds people doing something extraordinary for their community.
Facebook will also broadcast one Major League Baseball game per week. There are “dozens” of shows available right now, and by the time Watch is available globally, it should reach “hundreds”, Facebook said.
Where can you find Facebook Watch?
Facebook Watch is located in a tab and will auto-customise to your interests over time. You can access Watch through Facebook’s app on mobile, desktop, and laptop, as well as through its TV apps. The old video tab in its main app, which up until now has served up random videos from big publishers and pages that you follow, is no more. The new Watch tab is much more defined and focused.
How does Facebook Watch work?
The Watch tab (it sits next to the Marketplace tab on Facebook for iPhone) splits videos into two sections: Discover and Watchlist. The first recommends stuff for you to watch now, while Watchlist stores videos you’ve “followed” to watch later. You’ll also see videos defined by categories like “What friends are watching,” “most talked about,” and “what’s making people laugh.”
There’s even a category for videos longer than 10 minutes.
Can you make videos for Watch?
Currently, you - including publishers - have to be invited to Watch. Over time, though, Facebook expects to let anyone publish to it, just like you can with YouTube. According to several reports, Facebook plans to stop funding original shows up-front and will eventually earn by taking 45 percent of the revenues generated by ads. That’s right - expect to see mid-roll advertisements in videos on Watch.
When will Facebook Watch be available?
Watch is available to a limited group of Facebook users and creators in the US, but Facebook plans to bring it to more people “soon”.