Facebook Rolls Out Watch, Its New Platform for Original Video Programming

Social media platform set to debut slate of original shows on August 28

On Thursday, Facebook will debut its new platform for original video programming: Watch. Serving as an update to the Video tab, Watch is designed to better package the social media giant’s various catalog of original programming being created by its partners.

Watch, which will be available on mobile, desktop, and in Facebook’s TV apps, is designed to serve as a personalized platform for users to watch, comment on, and share shows.

If it wasn’t already official before, it certainly is now: Facebook has positioned itself as a competitor to platforms like YouTube, Hulu, Amazon, and Netflix, in addition to television itself.

Partners are now encouraged to develop even more programming specifically for their Facebook channels. According to a report from TechCrunch, partners will earn 55% of ad break revenue while Facebook keeps 45%.

“We think Watch will be home to a wide range of shows, from reality to comedy to live sports,” Facebook’s Director of Product Daniel Danker said in a blog post. “We’re excited to see how creators and publishers use shows to connect with their fans and community.

Facebook has even said that it will help fund some of the early programming made for Facebook Watch to help encourage content creators and “seed the ecosystem.” One example Facebook gave for this program was a series featuring Mike Rowe called Returning the Favor. In the show, Rowe finds people doing extraordinary things in their community and shares their story with the world. Interactivity with the show is fueled by the fact that candidates are nominated by fans on Facebook.

The initial roll out also features a robust list of sports clients and content, including a continued supply of live events from Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer, Liga MX, World Surf League, and a handful of collegiate athletic outfits. In addition, there’s plenty of original sports content like MLB.com’s “12:15 Live,” the Golden State Warriors behind-the-scenes series “Championship Rewind,” MLS’s “Extra Time Live,” WNBA’s “WNBA All-Access,” and more.

Watch will be available to a limited group in the U.S. on Thursday so not everyone will see it in their app. The plan to slowly roll it out to more and more users over time.

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