Facebook launches new video service to compete with streaming sites

Facebook product management director Rob Leathern      Twitter

There's no word yet on if baseball will make it to Watch in the United Kingdom, but Twitter has already begun exploring this area itself - having shown some live content from Wimbledon on its own platform in July.

Facebook has officially launched its long-awaited video platform, Watch, a separate tab meant to serve both live and recorded programming that follows a storyline or theme.

The company's new video tab, Watch, will showcase a slew of original shows from a wide range of partners, including digital content studios like ATTN and more conventional TV channels like National Geographic.

It includes tabs such as "Most Talked About", "What's Making People Laugh", and "What Friends Are Watching".

"As people come to Facebook more and more to watch video, they want a reliable place to watch", Danker said in an interview.

Daniel Danker, Director of Product at Facebook, noted in a release that the service will be open only to a select few content creators for now and will be viewable only to a small group of users in the US. It is now in direct competition with famous video-offering apps like YouTube and Netflix.

Creators can now upload shows onto the social media network - either live or recorded - and benefit from the two billion-strong audience on the platform. As more and more people enjoy this experience, we've learned that people like the serendipity of discovering videos in News Feed, but they also want a dedicated place they can go to watch videos. TechCrunch says that Facebook is yet to finalise the length of ads.

In addition to appearing on the Watch tab, shows will also have their own Show Pages where fans can learn what the show is about, watch episodes of the show and interact with the community that forms around the show. Facebook is now funding some shows to give the platform a leg-up in its early days, but plans to stop that eventually and earn money through ads in the long run.

Major League Baseball - MLB will be broadcasting a game every week on Facebook Watch.

The company claims that the difference maker is its personalisation and community interaction at large, claiming that comments and reactions to videos are "often as much a part of the experience as the video itself".

"That's why past year we launched the Video tab in the USA, which offered a predictable place to find videos on Facebook".

The company has paid creators to provide content for the platform, but will eventually take a cut of the revenue from the ads used in videos. When Watch rolls out, it will do so with a group of chosen video producers, as Facebook seeks to establish the platform.

Mike Rowe of "Dirty Jobs" fame will host a show that highlights "people doing something extraordinary for their communities".

Related news: