Science & Hi-Tech

Facebook rolls-out its Watch video platform to users worldwide

Facebook users worldwide will soon have access to the app
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Facebook Watch is now available to its 2.23 billion monthly users worldwide.

The Facebook-owned video platform will host original shows and live programmes commissioned by the social network – similar to the push into original content seen by rival technology firms YouTube and Netflix.

The video service has been trialled in the United States for more than a year.

This marks the first time international Facebook users have been able to view any of the content created for the platform.

To access the Watch feature, Facebook mobile users need to tap the ‘Play’ logo in the navigation bar that runs along the bottom of the app.

Those on desktop computers will find the icon in the column on the left-hand side. 

Watch is the latest move from the beleaguered social network to engage its more users, following months plagued by privacy scandals and reports of plummeting user names in a number of key demographics, including 18-24 year-olds.

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Facebook users worldwide will soon have access to the app’s YouTube rival – Facebook Watch (pictured). The video service has been trialled in the US for more than a year and will now be rolled out to people around the world

In a post shared overnight, Facebook confirmed the feature would be ‘available everywhere’ starting today.

Facebook says it will provide a platform for publishers and content creators to market their videos to a worldwide audience.

‘With the global launch of Watch, we are supporting publishers and creators globally in two critical areas: helping them to make money from their videos on Facebook and better understand how their content is performing,’ the company said.

Facebook launched Watch in a bid to cash-in on the changing viewing habits of consumers.

Traditional television is being shunned in favour of online platforms such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. 

More people are also watching content, both professional and amateur, on video on-demand services, including Google-owned service YouTube.  

‘We designed the product not just in a mindless consumption but in order to get people engaged,’ said Fidji Simo, Head of Video at Facebook.

‘Contents that we fund are a very small part of the contents available on Watch.’ 

Instead, Facebook hopes videos made by users are what will keep people watching.

In an effort to attract creators, Facebook has developed tools to allow those behind the videos viewed on Watch can integrate advertisements themselves.

‘We remain confident that monetisation will help creation,’ Ms Simo said.

Facebook first launched Watch in the United States in August 2017, with a slew of long-form content in the ilk of Netflix and Hulu.

Among the line-up was an entertainment shows called Red Table Talk, which features Jada Pinkett Smith and her daughter Willow.

It is designed to provide a forum where the perspectives of three different generations on a wide variety of topics can be shared.

The first episode of the series has been watched 27 million times.

Facebook has ordered an additional thirteen episodes of the internet discussion show to premiere in the fall of 2018.

Anther Facebook Watch offering is that from beauty mogul Huda Kattan which follows her behind-the-scenes in Huda Boss. 

Facebook has also aired a comedy-drama series known as Sacred Lies, which is based on the novel The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes.

Episodes of the drama are aired weekly on the platform. 

According to a new report from US-based market research company eMarketer, Snapchat is expected to grow its important 18-24-year-old demographic by more than 350,000 users in 2018 in the UK alone - making it more popular than rival app Facebook

According to a new report from US-based market research company eMarketer, Snapchat is expected to grow its important 18-24-year-old demographic by more than 350,000 users in 2018 in the UK alone – making it more popular than rival app Facebook

For the first time ever, the social network has lost users in its most lucrative market, the US and Canada, dropping from 185 million last quarter to 184 million - indicating the potential for growth might have finally petered out

For the first time ever, the social network has lost users in its most lucrative market, the US and Canada, dropping from 185 million last quarter to 184 million – indicating the potential for growth might have finally petered out

WHAT IS FACEBOOK WATCH?

Facebook Watch was launched with more than 20 new premium full-length shows, as well as a number of shorter five to ten minute episodes that are refreshed daily.

This two tier approach allows the company to provide more ‘clip’ oriented content similar to YouTube as well as challenging Netflix’s supremacy for ‘binge-watching’ on-demand series.

CollegeHumor co-founder Ricky Van Veen is leading the efforts in his role as global creative strategy chief with former MTV executive Mina Lefevre.

For its top-tier shows, Facebook is reported to be spending about six figures per episode.

This gives them full ownership, which allows the social network to release them to its global audience of 1.9 billion monthly active users.

The latest announcement comes weeks after Facebook revealed it had secured a £200million deal last month to exclusively broadcast Premier League matches in four Asian countries from next year. 

The deal will commence at the beginning of the 2019-20 season and run until 2022 and means Facebook will live stream all 380 Premier League matches in those countries.

Sister service Instagram now features more video content than ever before, as the app expands on its picture-focused content.

Instagram launched Instagram Television (IGTV) earlier this year and allows people to go ‘live’ as well as posting videos to their stories.

These features, imitating those found on rival Snapchat for some years, have also made their way on to Facebook and Facebook Messenger.     

Digital video advertising revenue is expected to increase by roughly 35 per cent by 2020, while TV advertising revenue is expected to increase by about 5 per cent in that same time period, according to Axios.

More and more Silicon Valley giants are hoping to corner a piece of the digital ad market, including Amazon, which is also believed to be going after YouTube.

According to a report this week, numbers of Facebook users aged 18-24 will drop behind Snapchat for the first time ever by the end of 2018. 

More than 350,000 new users within this age range will flood to Snapchat, which is focused around ephemeral photography and Augmented Reality (AR) lens that distort users faces in images and videos, market research firm eMarketer reports.

Earlier this year, Facebook also reported a drop off in users in the US and Canada – its most lucrative market. 

The research from the Pew Research Centre revealed just 51 per cent of US individuals aged 13 to 17 say they use Facebook – a drastic plunge from the 71 per cent who claimed to use the social network a Pew report in 2015. 

Facebook has been struggling to attract and keep users in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which saw the personal information of 87 million people leaked.   

WHAT IS AVAILABLE ON FACEBOOK WATCH?

Facebook announced ‘Facebook Watch’ in the US on August 9, 2017.  

In May and June 2018, Facebook launched six news programs.

These includes millennial focused outlets such as BuzzFeed, Vox, CNN, and Fox News.   

The social media company has also said it will be allowing user-generated content on the site, in a similar way to YouTube. 

 Facebook Watch also features long-form content in the ilk of Netflix and Hulu. 

Entertainment show Red table Talk, which features Jada Pinkett Smith and her daughter Willow, is available and provides a forum where the perspectives of three different generations on a wide variety of topics are shared.

Beauty mogul  Huda Kattan’s behind-the-scenes show Huda Boss is also featured as well as a selection of Major League Baseball games.   

Last month Facebook secured a deal to exclusively broadcast Premier League matches in four Asian countries from next year. 

The deal will commence at the beginning of the 2019-20 season and run until 2022 and means Facebook will live stream all 380 Premier League matches in those countries.


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