It's been a whirlwind year for anyone trying to keeping up with all changes rolled out by Facebook in both features and algorithm. In true Facebook form, they've got content creators on their toes again with a new feature, Watch.
So, what is Watch? Like YouTube, Watch will support professional content creators. Facebook users can follow their favorites and save for later viewing. Initially, Facebook is allowing certain people to create shows for Watch. Eventually, Facebook will let anyone create content after they go through an application process.
Facebook said, "Our goal is for Watch to be a platform for all creators and publishers to find an audience, build a community of passionate fans, and earn money for their work."
Facebook predicts that a wide variety of shows could see success on Watch, including:
- Shows that engage fans and community. Nas Daily publishes a daily show where he makes videos together with his fans from around the world. The Watchlist makes it easy for fans to catch every day’s new episode.
- Live shows that connect directly with fans. Gabby Bernstein, a New York Times bestselling author, motivational speaker, and life coach, uses a combination of recorded and live episodes to connect with her fans and answer questions in real time.
- Shows that follow a narrative arc or have a consistent theme. Tastemade’s Kitchen Little is a funny show about kids who watch a how-to video of a recipe, then instruct professional chefs on how to make it. Each episode features a new child, a new chef, and a new recipe. Unsurprisingly, the food doesn’t always turn out as expected.
- Live events that bring communities together. Major League Baseball is broadcasting a game a week on Facebook, enabling people to watch live baseball while connecting with friends and fellow fans on the platform.
Each show or content creator will have their own page. Show Pages are organized in a way that makes it easy for people to understand what a show is about, watch episodes, and connect with others interested in that same show.
Facebook went on to say, "We think creating a show has a number of benefits, like the ability to reach a predictable and loyal audience. People will be able to follow the shows they like, and when there’s a new episode of a show, Facebook will inform the show’s followers and the episode will automatically appear in their Watchlist in Watch."
Image via Facebook Newsroom
For users, Watch will suggest shows in a personalized news feed based on what their friends watch and their own viewing history. Facebook's algorithm will take into consideration how users react to a show. Shows that get a lot of “haha” reactions on Facebook will be included in the “What's Making People Laugh” section of the feed.
“Watch is personalized to help you discover new shows, organized around what your friends and communities are watching,” Daniel Danker, Facebook’s director of product, said.
Facebook is not trying to replace TV, Netflix, or YouTube. They have simply created another way to compete for user's attention. From what we can tell, this isn't going to be where users go to binge-watch their favorite shows or get lost in a YouTube-like rabbit hole. Watch is primarily a place for shorter, social content Facebook's users can't get anywhere else.
Facebook is starting Watch's roll out in the U.S. with a limited group of people. Whenever you finally see that “Watch” tab pop up on your own feed, you'll know that it has become available to the masses.