CEO Zuckerberg: Facebook Watch Going ‘Mainstream’ in 2019

Facebook launched its Watch streaming video platform in 2017 as competition to YouTube and other over-the-top platforms.

Despite initial claims of 50 million monthly viewers, and content spend approaching $1 billion, Watch has reportedly failed to connect with its targeted audience: teenagers.

In fact, just 36% of the desired demo used Facebook in Fall 2018 — down from 52% during the same time period in 2016, according to analyst firm Piper Jaffray.

Indeed, 85% of teens are opting for Instagram (which Facebook owns), followed by Snapchat (84%) and Twitter (47%).

As a result, Facebook is looking to expand the Watch audience while also hoping to further engage younger viewers through social interaction, according to CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

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Speaking on the Jan. 30 fiscal call, Zuckerberg said 400 million users now engage with Watch monthly, including about 20 minutes of content daily.

Specifically, the founder/CEO said Facebook has directed Watch users interested in longform video to engage in content more easily through the ‘Watch Party’ app that allows them to share live streams among friends.

“These are all things that make it so the video-watching experience isn’t just about passive consumption but about interaction, and that’s going to, I think, help really drive engagement as well,” Zuckerberg said.

In addition, the social media platform is focusing on content that resonates with wider audiences and thereby enhances monetization opportunities for creators — and Facebook.

Watch has scored hits with Jada Pinkett Smith’s talk show, “Red Table Talk,” critically-acclaimed drama series, “Sorry for Your Loss,” and “Sacred Lies”; interactive reality show, “Confetti,” and next year’s reboot of “MTV’s The Real World.”

“That has allowed us to really increase the amount of video that people are watching without getting in the way of the core mission of what we do, which is helping people interact,” Zuckerberg said.

 

 

Janet McTeer Signed to Facebook Watch Original Series

Upstart over-the-top video service Facebook Watch reportedly has signed two-time Oscar nominee Janet McTeer (Tumbleweeds, Albert Nobbs) to original dark comedy, “Sorry For Your Loss,” also staring (and executive produced by) Elizabeth Olsen (Ingrid Goes West, Martha Marcy May Marlene).

McTeer plays a fitness-obsessed, overbearing mother to young widow Olsen trying to deal with grief, among other issues. The series also stars Kelly Marie Tran and Jovan Adepo.

Ad-supported Facebook Watch, which splits revenue (45%/55%) with content creators, launched last August. Facebook reportedly set aside $1 billion for original content production in 2018.

Earlier this week, Facebook Watch hired ex-Pinterest executive Mike Bidgoli to head the video product unit, in addition to Matthew Henick as head of content planning and strategy.

British-born McTeer is also starring in the second season of Netflix original series, “Ozark,” starring Jason Bateman and Laura Linney as parents of two young children on the run from the drug cartel.

McTeer plays a Chicago based attorney with links to the cartel. In making a deal with the devil, she becomes a potential threat to the Byrde family.