Facebook launches YouTube competitor called Watch

Yolanda Curtis
August 11, 2017

The social network is introducing the Watch tab to desktop and mobile, and will fill it with shows - either live or recorded - made up of episodes on a similar theme.

The clip, which features the most impressive user-submitted clips of 2017 so far, was posted on July 28 and has already amassed a whopping 351 million views on Facebook - and roughly 1 million views on YouTube.

Facebook's new "Watch" tab will show the company's growing video content.

The new Facebook feature, called Watch, will make it easier for users to navigate all the video content that has been uploaded to the platform.

One benefit of Facebook's Watch is that people can watch videos from all of their devices. There will also be several categories like the "Most Talked About", which contains list of shows that have sparked the conversation, then there is "What's Making People Laugh", section which includes shows where many people have used the "Haha" reaction, and "What Friends Are Watching", which helps you connect with friends about shows they too are following.

Getting people to see Facebook as a video service is like Walmart trying to sell high fashion, or McDonald's peddling high-end food, said Joel Espelien, senior analyst with The Diffusion Group, a video research firm. "Watch" will be initially rolled out to selected users in the U.S. There is also a tab where you can go ahead ands leave a comment after watching the show of your choice. Users who already follow certain outlets, say, BuzzFeed, will get recommended shows from those pages.

The idea behind Watch is to let people find videos and series they like, keep up with them as new episodes appear, and interact with the show's stars, creators and other fans.

Facebook said the shows would include videos of the Women's National Basketball Association, a parenting show from Time Inc and a safari show from National Geographic.

Over time, creators will be able to monetize their shows through "ad breaks", according to Facebook.

Many tech giants are eyeing the lucrative market of original programming. Like YouTube, Facebook also Watch publishers to earn revenue on their content, using the same 45/55 revenue split. That's why previous year we launched the Video tab in the USA, which offered a predictable place to find videos on Facebook. Watch is basically the redesigned Video tab which is already available to US users.

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