Facebook Introduces Watch – Are you ready to Facebook and Chill?

As part of its venture into video, Facebook has expanded its offering with its new ‘Watch’ platform. The social giant first launched its video feature in the US last year and its relative success has encouraged Facebook to develop this latest progression in its empire.

But what should we be watching out for (sorry, had to) and what does this mean for social and community engagement?

What is Watch?

‘Watch’ lets users watch original content from ‘professional creators’ as well as live video and other shared content from professional and amateurs alike. The current focus appears to be on factual content (rather than big budget drama), with Facebook largely commissioning ‘lifestyle’ topics including travel and cookery shows.

The platform has been designed to encourage community viewing (similar to its Livestream options); allowing comments, likes and reactions to run alongside viewing, encouraging viewers to participate in a community programme based Facebook group, and enabling users to see what content their friends are viewing. Users will be able to see content produced by anyone they are following; artists, sports stars, influencers and brands will be able to publish and distribute. Initially, Facebook has financially supported the original content being created but plan to claim 45% of ad revenue generated by the content available.

Director of Product for Facebook, Daniel Danker has stated that “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.”

Can I Watch?

Currently, Watch (like the earlier ‘Video’ tab) has been released to a select few in the US. It will gradually be released across the rest of the country.

So when will Facebook Watch be available in the UK? There is (as yet) no set release date for Facebook Watch to be released in the UK. This will presumably depend on its US success.

What does this mean for big business (and medium/small enterprises)?

Facebook is clearly pitting themselves against YouTube and other big online video platforms. However, for businesses who are already using Facebook and have good community engagement, it allows for an easy breakthrough into distributing video content without asking users to actively transition to a new platform.

Brands are increasingly aware that video is key to improving awareness; a good viral video can powerfully boost product sales. The platform potentially allows smaller businesses to stand alongside larger competitors if they can produce quality content that engages viewers.
It’s also recognised that Facebook actively promotes videos that are seen as ‘native content’ rather than those published on YouTube and shared across, meaning video published on Facebook will get an added boost.

Therefore Watch has the potential for active brand development, but user interest and viewing potential remains to be seen.

What are your thoughts on Watch – do we need another video platform? If you manage a brand, will you be looking to put content out?

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