Facebook’s foray into the video streaming space could very well become the new big thing. It is unique in its model because it combiners the ad-based revenue system of YouTube with the episodic content of Netflix and others. The service has been named ‘Facebook Watch’ and is currently only available to selected users in the United States. It will target users through applications on mobiles, desktops, and televisions.
With the exception of some live content (such as a deal with Major League Baseball), Watch will only have original content that can be viewed exclusively through the tab on Facebook. The fact that it does not require a separate subscription and can be viewed for free through the social media account makes it attractive to every Facebook user (over 2 billion monthly active users).
This new service by Facebook could prove especially crucial to marketers. The most defining feature of Watch is that it will be ‘hyper-personalised’. Recommendations will be based on personal viewing as well as friends’ choices, along with the option to communicate with fellow fans. As for the videos, they can follow the original format of TV shows, or experiment with live shows, events, episodes with consistent themes, community centric videos etc. The possibilities for innovation are endless.
This will help creators and marketers find the audience for their work easily, and help to build a community. People can interact and connect while enjoying the content and become a part of the experience itself. The platform has the potential to increase the engagement between creators, marketers, and the audience like never before.
The ad-based monetization means that content producers will earn 55% of the revenue while Facebook keeps 45%. There is also an option for producers to opt out of that scheme and instead use sponsorships and product placements, as long as transparency is maintained by tagging them.
Due to its pre-established (immensely) large pool of potential users, Facebook Watch presents marketers an opportunity to present content that will encourage sharing and engagement. Constant association of a brand with content and a community that an audience loves will give a push to consumer loyalty. It allows brands to connect with their fans in a polished manner instead of as noise on a news feed. Promotion does not have to be only on unachievable large scales but also at a more humane level.
Facebook Watch is an exciting new tool for all kinds of influencers. Everyone from marketers to performers to budding film-makers can make use of it to experiment, promote, and learn. It could also help Facebook bring back the appeal it has lost in the younger generation, while posing a challenge to other streaming services to up their game. For now, we can wait and Watch.