Facebook Watch, videos as a strategy

Monday, 10 september 2018 | Redacción CEU

Facebook has never abandoned its purpose to become the social networking service that offers more features: as a marketplace, content search engine, brand showcase, calendar of events, and now as a video platform as well. The social networking site does not want to be left behind in relation to other digital competitors and, so that this does not happen, it needs to win the public over with the most popular digital content: videos. The company is at a disadvantage. The territory is controlled by large firms, but this fact has not been enough to stop Facebook's efforts. A year ago, the social networking site launched in the USA a project: "Facebook Watch". Now, the integrated video platform is opening up to the rest of the world. Will this be  the new formula that will enable Facebook to compete with the major industry leaders like Youtube or Netflix? Will  Facebook Watch be able to win users over?

 

There are still many users who have not discovered yet where the access icon to the last service offered by the Zuckerberg's firm is hidden. It is not strange, because this feature is not  available on Facebook Watch's web version and, sometimes, it is necessary to press the button "more" to discover it on its mobile version. When users finally manage to land on this new multimedia section, they discover a new feature that allows them to easily access the content that is being published on Facebook in video format. For the moment, this tool does not consist of much more than that. However, the Facebook strategy promises to give people a lot to talk about in the future, since this tool has a great potential.

What is Facebook Watch?

Facebook Watch was launched a year ago in the United States. The trial period has concluded successfully. The video consumption of the US Facebook's users was fourteen times higher than the one that had been collected in the data prior to its implementation. Now, the social networking site aims at replicating this success in other territories and is launching this service in countries like Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Dominican Republic, Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, Argentina, Chile, Portugal, Spain, France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Thailand. However, some analyses suggest that the impact which this service had in the North American country was not as great as the one that was expected. According to Trecebits, a study of 1,600 people revealed that half of the survey respondents had never heard about Facebook Watch, and only 14% of them used the service on a daily basis. There are as many reports as tastes, and just as many conclusions as Facebook' users and readers of this article.

Facebook Watch is a service that favors the access to videos that have been uploaded to the social networking site, as well as it encourages the creation of videos that have been specially designed for the platform. At first, this new section of Facebook was focused on cooking, fitness and travel programs, since it seemed that these would be the content that might prevail in the visualization through mobile devices. However, the US trial has confirmed the potential of other alternatives. The offered catalog promises to be much broader in the future. Among the preferred content of the users we can find the series of the platform. It is striking, for example, to note the success of programs such as "Red Table Talk" that was directed by Jada Pinkett Smith.

The idea of Facebook is that over time the presence of programs which are produced especially for this section will increase considerably. If the platform continues betting on this type of creations, it may end up conquering users and, who knows, it could even get to compete with the great leaders of the sector -firms like HBO and Netflix or platforms like Youtube-. However, this project has not taken off yet and is far from achieving such a great success.

 

Facebook Watch, videos as a strategy

The strengths of Facebook Watch

Although it is not one of the major digital video platforms yet, the bet of this social networking site should not be underestimated. The strength of this video platform can be found precisely in its social character. Facebook Watch does not want to limit users' participation to the content visualization but it also tries to open a door for them to exchange impressions and ideas. The plan is that users can freely talk about content with friends, other viewers and even the creators of the videos themselves. Therefore, the key to this service lies in the interactivity.

The new Facebook service offers the possibility of calling a Watch Party. It is a digital meeting in real time where users who are connected can simultaneously watch a video. They can also carry out surveys, questionnaires or challenges, share tricks or comment the details of what they are seeing. This can be a very useful tool to connect people who have the same interests, encourage conversations and get to know the users better.

To upload content to this Facebook's section, creators have aim at videos which last more than three minutes and manage to make over 30,000 users watch them in a period of two moths, as well as achieve an average viewing time of over one minute. In addition to all this, producers must have more than 10,000 followers. Setting out these requirements favors, at least theoretically, the production of a higher quality content. On the other hand, compared to platforms such as Netflix or HBO, Facebook Watch is open to more modest producers. These creators can also generate benefits by including advertising in their videos. The profits are shared between Facebook (45%) and producers (55%).

Despite all these possible competitive advantages, Facebook Watch is still a long way from reaching the titans of the online video format. It has only been a year since its launch, but its landing in the United States, as well as in the rest of the world, has not caused an impact in proportion to its potential. The arrival of the new Facebook's service has gone unnoticed by many. However, the company has the resources, knowledge and enough capacity to offer a service in the future that is consistent with its weight. Only time will tell if it succeeds.

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