Vizio SmartCast Adds Facebook Watch TV App

Vizio SmartCast users in the United States and Canada can now access the Facebook Watch TV app.

“Bringing Facebook Watch to SmartCast furthers our mission to provide Vizio customers with direct-to-device access to all of their favorite apps and channels in one place,” Mike O’Donnell, chief revenue officer of Vizio, said in a statement. “The Facebook Watch TV app helps connect audiences with content that matches their interests, all from the Vizio SmartCast home screen.”

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Vizio SmartCast TV users can select the Facebook Watch app icon from the SmartCast home screen and follow a prompt for a one-time Facebook login. Content on the app includes:

  • Facebook Originals such as “Red Table Talk,” covering social issues with Jada Pinkett Smith; the recently launched “Red Table Talk: The Estefans,” with Gloria Estefan; the daytime Emmy-winning show “Returning the Favor,” with Mike Rowe who spotlights everyday heroes; and Steve Harvey’s talk show, “Steve on Watch,” with celebrity interviews and news;
  • Live gaming streams and previously recorded videos from Facebook Gaming creators as well as livestreamed tournaments; and
  • Music videos from top artists to up-and-coming bands and classics across various genres.

Facebook Watch Claims 1.25 Billion Monthly Views Worldwide

Facebook Watch, the social media giant’s video-on-demand platform, has topped 1.25 billion monthly views globally, according to a blog post by Louise Holmes, director of entertainment partnerships for EMEA at Facebook. That’s a significant bump from June 2019 when Facebook reported that 140 million people per day spent at least one minute on the Watch platform, and 720 million viewers per month. Facebook claims more than 1.86 billion active monthly users.

Launched on Aug. 9, 2017, Facebook Watch affords content creators with a distribution channels allowing them to keep 55% of advertising revenue on original content (Facebook keeps 45%). 

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Facebook cited viewership gains in France and Germany, including 77 million viewers for reality show “France’s Got Talent,” in addition to “Top Chef” and  “Les Marseillais,” among others. In Germany, Facebook’s partnership with ProSiebenSat.1 resulted in the broadcaster more than doubling its one-minute video views, while organically acquiring 2.5 million new follows across their show pages such as “The Voice of Germany” and “Galileo.”

“Over the past two years, we’ve seen a diverse range of partners eagerly embrace Watch — from established and emerging global creators engaging with fans, to publishers finding new audiences by distributing timely videos spanning news, sports and entertainment,” Holmes wrote on the post. “These partners have successfully engaged Facebook’s audience … to speak to their communities, surface new, innovative content, and build digital revenue streams that are complementary to their business models — through [advertising and subscriptions].”

Facebook Watch Bowing New Reality Series Starring Female NASCAR Driver Angela Ruch

Facebook Watch, social media giant’s ad-supported streaming video platform, is launching a reality series featuring Nascar driver Angela Ruch and her unconventional family. Premiering Feb. 4, “The Ruch Life” is an eight-part, unfiltered docuseries featuring Ruch, and her sometimes outrageous and often hilarious husband, Mike.

The series chronicles the day-to-day lives of the Ruch household as they go through highs and lows, triumphs and challenges. From extravagant vacations to family feuding and the adversities and abundance of the adoption process, chaos ensues as Angela’s agent and manager pull her in the opposite direction from her husband, while housekeeper, “Berta,” has her hands full trying to keep up, the series ties in a number of cast members that make up the wild life with the Ruchs.

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“Although unique and eccentric in their own way, ‘The Ruchs’ are that family who have that one member everyone can relate to,” O Lee Solomon III, co-executive producer, said in a statement. “This series is a fun, fresh way for us to add to the diverse lineup of Facebook Watch.”

Executive Producer Jason Sciavicco (creator and showrunner for MTV’s “Two-a-Days,” Esquire’s “Friday Night Tykes,” Showtime’s “A Season With” and Facbook’s “Inside the Madness”) has been a longtime advocate for the show.

“I met the Ruchs years ago and was immediately struck by how wild yet loveable they were,” he said. “Since that day, I knew I had to make this show happen and am thrilled for audiences to meet the family I fell for years ago.”

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“The Ruch Life” schedule on Facebook Watch:

Episode 1 Tuesday, Feb. 4 at 8am EST
Episode 2 Thursday, Feb. 6 at 8am EST
Episode 3 Saturday, Feb. 8 at 8am EST
Episode 4 Tuesday, Feb. 11 at 8am EST
Episode 5 Thursday, Feb. 13 at 8am EST
Episode 6 Tuesday, Feb. 18 at 8am EST
Episode 7 Thursday, Feb. 20 at 8am EST
Episode 8 Saturday, Feb. 22 at 8am EST

Social Media Ups Original Video Content Orders

Social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat are increasing forays into original video content to better compete against Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and Disney+.

Since the middle of 2018, YouTube, Facebook and Snapchat have commissioned more than 200 digital originals, according to new data from Ampere Analysis. Short-form video platform Quibi is launching in 2020 with 80 scripted and unscripted titles in development.

With 58 shows in production, Ampere says Facebook Watch is the second largest commissioner of unscripted content globally after the BBC. Snapchat rivals HBO and National Geographic with 22 commissioned unscripted shows currently in production.

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Despite the number of commissions, there still aren’t enough to offset the challenging economics of digital-first production, according to Ampere. Timing and the unpredictability of commissioning activity is a major concern for smaller digital studios, impacting cash flow and investment opportunity.

As a result, the London-based research firm says social media platforms have adopted hybrid business strategies, which include branded video, secondary rights sales influencer marketing, and direct control of ad sales against content distributed by via their own social media channels.

“Fast-paced technological developments and shifting consumer trends mean that diversification of business models and revenue streams is key to ensuring stability in a volatile marketplace,” analyst Henry Beckwith said in a statement.

Ampere’s analysis indicates that of current shows commissioned in the first half of 2019 for Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat and Quibi, less than 10% were being made in Europe. But the tide may be turning. Facebook has more recently begun to diversify. Its latest commissions are Western European-focused, with the U.K. and Germany emerging hubs for the social media group.

“Digital studios that have greater control over their IP can maximize income and margins, which can then be used to drive growth in other areas of the business,” Beckwith said.

MTV Bows Interactive Game Show on Facebook Watch in the U.K.

Viacom International Media Networks Feb. 18 announced that MTV U.K. is partnering with Facebook to launch an interactive game show on the social media’s over-the-top Watch video platform.

Dubbed “ MTV Stax,” the game streams three times weekly and is free to play featuring contestants answering questions about pop culture. Episode winners qualify for a chance to win a large cash prize. The show is hosted by MTV news presenters Tinea Taylor and Tyler West, among others.

“We are always exploring new and innovative ways to engage and entertain our audiences, so we’re excited to be working with Facebook Watch as one of their first U.K. launch partners to develop ‘MTV Stax,’”Joanna Wells, VP digital content, youth and entertainment at VIMN, said in a statement. “We know that there’s a great appetite at the moment for live interactive quiz shows and our fans are tapped into popular culture, so this feels like a very natural fit for MTV.”

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Facebook Watch launched its own interactive U.K. game show, “Confetti,” last November.

Earlier this month MTV launched its first SVOD mobile streaming app in the U.K. targeting the younger mobile demo (ages 18-34 years old), with additional distribution planned through regional telecoms.

 

 

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.

 

 

Facebook: 75 Million People Consume Watch Video Daily

In the three months since Facebook launched ad-supported video streaming service, Facebook Watch, the platform has generated more than 400 million monthly visitors, including 75 million people daily who spend at least 60 seconds on the platform.

The social media platform said that on average, the 75 million daily visitors spend more than 20 minutes with Watch.

“We’re seeing that people are regularly coming back to catch up on the videos they care about and watching for longer periods of time,” Fidji Simo, head of video, wrote in a Dec. 13 blog post.

Watch represents Facebook’s $1 billion attempt to enter the original content market, which includes Jada Pinkett Smith’s talk show “Red Table Talk,” dramas Sorry For Your Loss, starring Elizabeth Olsen and Sacred Lies from showrunner Raelle Tucker, to live LaLiga soccer matches in the Indian subcontinent.

“We also kick-started our slate of global shows with our first interactive game show, “Confetti” expanding to six new markets this year and MTV’s “The Real World,” streaming next year in the U.S., Mexico, and Thailand,” wrote Simo.

Th executive said Facebook is renewing “Huda Boss,” “Five Points,” “Sacred Lies,” and “Sorry for Your Loss,” in 2019.

“These shows all cultivated deeply engaged fan bases who came for the episodes but stayed for the conversations — and are a great example of what can happen when content and community come together seamlessly,” wrote Simo – underscoring Facebook’s strategy linking original content with social media.

Facebook Reiterates No ‘Premier League’ Soccer License Bid

Facebook reportedly confirmed it will not seek to license Britain’s Premier League soccer for the social media’s Watch over-the-top video platform.

Speaking recently at the Broadcasting Press Guild Lunch in London, Patrick Walker, director of media partnerships, EMEA at Facebook, said a Premier League license bid was “not on the cards” at the moment.

“We’re not going out with the intention of acquiring lots of football rights specifically,” said Walker. “It’s more testing different sorts of ideas and seeing how they work and collaborating with rightsholders.”

Specifically, Walker said Facebook’s strategy revolves around enhances and enticing online usage and consumption for sports leagues and then working with them or a third-party on distribution.

“Facebook, in a way is like the world’s biggest sports stadium,” he said. “There’s around half a billion people who follow a football club somewhere in the world on Facebook.”

Facebook, along with Google, Amazon and Netflix, had been rumored as parties possible seeking to secure exclusive access to the world’s most-popular professional soccer league.

While Netflix steadfastly refuses to consider live sports, Facebook, YouTube and Prime Video have embraced sports, including Major League Baseball, the National Football League and Champions League soccer.

Amazon, which streams NFL Thursday Night Football, reportedly is also considering licensing Fox Sports Regional Networks.

 

 

 

 

Video Remains Double-Edge Sword for Facebook

Facebook ended its most recent third-quarter (ended Sept. 30) fiscal period with 2.3 billion people worldwide using the social media platform monthly, including 1.5 billion every day. Revenue grew 33% to $13.7 billion.

Facebook Watch, the ad-supported VOD service, was launched Aug. 10, 2017, followed by Instagram TV (IGTV) this past June. Both platforms targeting YouTube continue to pose challenges to Facebook’s business model structured around user exposure to advertising. Indeed, streaming video could actually hurt revenue, Facebook founder/CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on the Oct. 30 webcast.

“Video monetizes significantly less well per minute than people interacting in [community] feeds,” Zuckerberg said. “So, this means that even though we’ve made video more community-oriented and minimized displacement of social interactions, as video grows it will still displace some other services where we’d probably make more money.”

In other words, as Facebook users consume video, they interact with “friends” less — and in turn deprive advertisers (which account for more than 90% of Facebook revenue) channels to pitch products and marketing campaigns.

“Video is a critical part of the future, it’s what our community wants, and as long as we can make it social, I think it will end up being a large part of our business as well,” said Zuckerberg.

Indeed, the executive admitted Facebook has had to “rate-limit” video growth on the platform. Characterizing video consumption as “passive” compared to users aggressively engaging in community, political and social conversations, Zuckerberg said Facebook Watch is working with advertisers to better fit their marketing and ad-buying process for video.

In Q3, Facebook introduced a way for advertisers to buy video ads from specific content categories and pay only for ads that are watched to the end.

“The biggest thing that we need to do is make sure that the video experience is people-centric, and that we’re helping content creators [and advertisers] build a community and we’re helping people interact with each other,” Zuckerberg said.  “We build social products that help people interact. There are lots of places in the world that you can go to consume content, but we’re the Internet service that people use to help connect with other people, and we’re not going to let passive consumption get in the way of that.

“We needed to figure out a way so that video can grow, but people can also keep on interacting and doing what they tell us that they uniquely want from Facebook,” he said.

Zuckerberg said Facebook Watch user growth has tripled in the past few months.

“I think that’s a very exciting opportunity ahead,” he said. “And that’s one of the reasons that I’m very optimistic about the Watch growth.”

Ampere: Facebook Video Losing Traction Among Users

Despite a monthly global users base around 2 billion, Facebook users aren’t streaming much video, according to new data from Ampere Analysis.

The London-based research firm found that video streaming among Facebook users in the United States dropped to less than a quarter (23.7%) in the third quarter of 2018, compared to 35.5% in Q3 2016.

The social media platform also saw streaming video usage declines in Italy (down 6.7%) and Denmark (6%). In the U.K., which has seen ongoing video declines on Facebook since Q3 2017, reported a 1.6% uptick.

Google-owned YouTube remains the No. 1 (68.3% usage) video platform in the world catering to an endless supply of third-party user-generated content, in addition to commercial product. No. 2 is Netflix (35.4%), followed by Facebook, Instagram (17.8%) and Amazon ranked fifth with 11.7%.

“The apparent declining engagement with Facebook video is potentially symptomatic of some of the wider challenges Facebook is facing engaging younger audiences at the moment, and the impacts of the negative press surrounding the use of Facebook data in political campaign targeting,” Richard Broughton, director at Ampere Analysis, said in a statement.

“Nonetheless, video remains a priority for Facebook’s growth strategy, and recent investments in new video ad formats, as well as partnerships in the sports sector, highlight the forward-looking efforts that the social media giant is putting in to expanding this part of its business.”

Indeed, on-demand video service Facebook Watch launched Aug. 10, 2017 featuring ad-supported original and third-party content.

The service Oct. 16 bowed a new series from Whistle Sports, whose investors include NBC Sports and Sky Sports, dubbed “Famous Los and Filayyyy Show,” and featuring the two Instagram stars offering colorful insight on sports.

Other original Watch content includes “Bad Jokes,” “Whistle Worthy,” “The Loop,” “No Days Off,” and “Courtyard: Unstoppable.”