Facebook Revamps Original Video Offering With A New Watch Tab

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Facebook's Watch tab can be seen as a new TV-like rival to YouTube.

The social media giant has announced a new video platform called "Watch" that will feature live and recorded show episodes. Initially, it will be available to selected users. Facebook said the videos that will appear in Watch will be pulled from creators and publishers who have created "Show" pages on Facebook - akin to how some small businesses create a dedicated page.

"We'll be introducing Watch to a limited group of people in the USA and plan to bring the experience to more people soon", Facebook said. Over time, the Watch tab will learn the likes and interests of users and make recommendations accordingly. Content includes Bae or Bail from A&E, an unscripted series in which couples facing their fears see who sticks it out and who "bails"; Nat Geo's mini-doc series We're Wired That Way and Safari Live; and Tastemade's Kitchen Little, about kids who watch how-to cooking videos and then instruct professional chefs on how to make a dish. Users can also follow shows that they like and get notifications when a new episode is up through their Watchlist. They will also be able to comment in real time, and a tab will show what their friends are watching.

Shows will also feature dedicated Show Pages, which are created to make it easy to learn what the show is about, view episodes and related videos.

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In a crowded media landscape, Facebook's announcement prompted the tech site Recode to ask, "Does anyone actually want to watch "shows" on Facebook?"

Facebook is now working with a select group of publishers and creators who are making shows, its also funding some shows in an effort to "help seed the ecosystem".

As The Verge notes, "If successful, Facebook's push into video programming could represent a major new source of revenue for the company, which has begun running out of room to place new ads in in the News Feed". There's also a live program featuring motivational speaker Gabby Bernstein, who will answer questions from Facebook users. Those who create content exclusively for Facebook will earn 55 percent of the revenue generated by the mid-roll advertisements inserted into the videos.

For a few years now, Facebook has been growing its video content portfolio.

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