Watch is the social network’s new platform for watching shows, and it’s clearly trying to compete with YouTube.
When you visit Facebook, it’s Mark Zuckerberg’s intention that you never have to leave the social network to interact or be entertained with images and video. But there are still plenty of reasons to visit other services, and that’s especially the case with video. So this week, Facebook launched Watch.
Watch is Facebook’s new platform for watching shows on desktop, mobile or through Facebook’s TV apps. Those shows can be all kinds of videos, which form episodes and can either be live or pre-recorded. They can follow a theme or storyline, and there’s a big emphasis on interaction while watching, so comments and reactions form a key part of the Watch experience.
To help Facebook users keep track of the shows they like there will be a Watchlist. And as you’d expect, Facebook intends to personalize what you see available in Watch based on what your friends are watching, as well as what’s most talked about and what’s making people laugh the most at any given time.
Facebook sees Watch as offering a diverse range of content from online personalities creating their own series to celebrities streaming live video and even major sports broadcasts streamed live. Although not mentioned specifically, the fact Facebook is emphasising episodes and series suggests Watch could turn into a destination for new commercial TV shows, too.
Watch looks like Facebook’s answer to YouTube. It wants users posting original content, building up followers, asking for reactions, shares and generating comments. Add to that live streaming, an open door for commercial partners and lots of potential for new advertising (creators can even monetize their shows through Ad Breaks), and you effectively have another YouTube — only this version requires a Facebook account to access.