Facebook wants to keep the eyes of the world on their offerings and services. To that end the social network has announced Watch, a platform for video content that will have to compete with the likes of Netflix and YouTube for eyeballs. Not literally, that would just be gross. Though… we’d also totally watch that show.
But Watch, announced by Facebook yesterday and rolling out to limited numbers of users for now, has got its work cut out for it. Facebook has long been expected to announce that it’s getting into the video game in a big way but the initial offerings, including some funded by Facebook themselves, don’t do much to grab our attention.
Shows announced include Nas Daily, about a chap who travels around and makes short videos with fans; Gabby Bernstein, a motivational speaker who will combine live and pre-recorded episodes; Kitchen Little, a show where kids instruct chefs how to make a particular dish; and there will also be a Major League Baseball match broadcast on the service each week. There are a few others but not much stands out at present.
That said, Facebook certainly has some high hopes, saying “We think Watch will be home to a wide range of shows, from reality to comedy to live sports. To help inspire creators and seed the ecosystem, we’ve also funded some shows that are examples of community-oriented and episodic video series.” And who knows, perhaps they’ll get the shows they are keen on. Creators go where the money is and Facebook is offering creators 55% of video revenues. But revenues need viewers and viewers need good videos and… this could go either way for Facebook.
At the end of the day, Facebook’s Watch service is going to rise or fall based on the videos being made. The service will have to compete with YouTube’s variety and volume and Netflix’s quality in order to make video streaming profitable for the social network. That’s not going to be an easy task. Not even for Facebook and certainly not with their early offerings.