Facebook Launches Video Service Hub
Thursday witnessed the launch of Facebook Inc’s Watch video service to US users, as an attempt to rake in more revenues from advertising, while taking on Alphabet Inc’s Youtube and other similar digital video service rivals.
Watch has been rolled out for users in the United States, but reports suggest that Facebook plans to make it available worldwide.
The new video content portal will provide various ranges of video contents, with different lengths and types. It includes scripted series, live shows with hosts who can interact with viewers and answer questions, and sports events. Watch will offer users hundreds of shows coming from the likes of Vox, Buzzfeed, Discovery Communications Inc, and others.
At the start, the social media giant will pay for videos by content creators in order to attract attention from users. The company is paying as much as $35,000 for shorter shows, and as much as a whopping $250,000 for longer shows, according to reports. Eventually, Facebook plans to welcome creations from everyone, but contents will have to undergo a process of approval in the platform. 55 percent of the revenue will be taken by content partners, while the remainder will be taken by Facebook. According to Dan Rose, who is Facebook’s vice president for partnerships, the company is presently studying how advertisements will work within the shows.
The users can see which videos are popularly talked about by their friends, and they can also communicate together while watching the show. A watch list can also be created, where viewers can keep up with their favorite shows’ episodes. Each of the shows will have its own Facebook page, in which the publishers can share new episodes and other contents.
On the other hand, the company denied speculations that buying content is its main focus, but instead explained that “the idea is to seed this with good content.”
Among the shows that are already shown are “Returning the Favor” by former “Dirty Jobs” host Mike Rowe, Real Madrid (a behind-the-scenes show) narrated by Orlando Bloom, and a series by Humans of New York.
Watch is a move that intensifies Facebook’s efforts in penetrating the digital video space, pitting it against Netflix and Youtube. Paulo Verna, who is a senior analyst with eMarketer, said that Watch should solidify Facebook’s position alongside Youtube. Watch has been described as more personal and community-oriented compared to competitors. An example of this is its capability to suggest shows in line with the user’s interests or preferences.
“We think our unique opportunity is around community and engaging with people on topics they love to talk about,” Dan Rose said.
Facebook wants to take advantage of the current trend where more people, especially the younger ones, choose to watch videos through their smartphones or tablets. As a result, advertisers pour more of their budget online.
According to a data released by eMarketer, the length of time Americans use in watching online and/or digital videos has increased by more than 7 percent to 73 minutes a day from last year. The amount of time spent on watching TV has dropped 2 percent from last year to 244 minutes a day. According to reports, this trend is expected to continue.
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