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.”

Facebook Launches Smart Speakers with Video Option

Facebook Oct. 8 bowed a wireless smart speaker – dubbed Portal – which enables users to make video calls, access music and Facebook Watch over-the-top video streaming, among other features.

The Portal and Portal+ versions retail for $199 (10-inch screen) and $349 (15.6 inches), respectively, and will begin shipping in November.

Using artificial intelligence technology, the Portal’s camera feature recognizes body shapes and allows callers to stay in the picture frame while movie around. The devices also enable Facebook Messenger users to make conference calls.

“Our goal is to make you feel present in the same space as the person on the other end,” Rafa Camargo, a VP at Facebook, said in a statement.

With more than 30% of American households owning smart speakers, another 16% plan to purchase them, according to Adobe Analytics.

The global smart speaker market grew 187% in the second quarter 2018 with shipments topping 16.8 million, according to Canalys. Google led with 5.4 million Home model unit shipments, followed Amazon with 1.4 million Echo unit shipments. The United States accounted for 58% and 68%, respectively, of each company’s speaker unit shipments. China’s Alibaba and Xiaomi shipped 3 million and 2 million smart speaker units respectively.

Indeed, with Facebook’s previous consumer electronics ventures into virtual reality (Oculus) and mobile phones generating little consumer traction, the Portal is using Amazon’s Alexia voice-generated technology as well as Google Android mobile operating system to gain consumer interest.

 

Report: Facebook Watch Struggling for Recognition — on Facebook

Facebook Watch, the social media behemoth’s streaming video platform launched in 2016, has access to Major League Baseball and Premier League soccer, among other marquee content. But more than 50% of Facebook users don’t know what Watch is — and fewer still use it, according to new data from The Diffusion Group.

In a survey of more than 1,600 adult Facebook users, just 21% said they streamed content on Watch monthly. Another 14% said they streamed content weekly and 6% said they watched ad-supported content daily.

“Despite the slow build of Watch users, it would be remiss to underestimate Facebook’s long-term potential as a large-scale video provider,” Michael Greeson, president of The Diffusion Group, said in a statement.

Greeson said Facebook is employing Watch as a means of exploiting its “massive scale” to sell video, similar to what Amazon is doing with Prime Video. Indeed, Facebook reportedly is spending upwards of $1 billion in 2018 to fund original programming.

Programs include teen dramas, “SKAM Austin,” “Five Points,” “Sacred Lies,” and “Turnt,” in addition to comedies “Strangers,” “Starter Pack,” and “Sorry for Your Loss.”

Regardless of the strategy, TDG contends Facebook – like Amazon and Apple – has the advantage that it is not dependent upon video for revenue growth or sustainability as are standalone video, music and gaming services.

“This is why technology companies are so dangerous to legacy media companies,” said Greeson. “Facebook, Google, Apple, and Amazon have such deep pockets and vast business empires that they can spin up a service in short order and lose money on it for years if it serves a higher purpose, like keeping Facebook users in the branded ecosystem for longer. For large tech companies, media services are commonly a means to a larger end, not ends in themselves.”

 

AT&T’s Hello Lab Originals Bows Three New Video Series

Hello Lab Originals, a joint venture between AT&T and Otter Media’s Fullscreen Media, Aug. 8 announced a slate of three original series streaming on the Internet.

Geared toward millennial and teen audiences, each series includes multiple points of story engagement, in addition to the scripted series, such as social media, companion vlogs and a podcast.

“Starter Pack” premieres Aug. 20 on Facebook Watch telling the story of a graduate of a prestigious art school turning her talent to an unexpected medium.

“Guilty Party” returns to YouTube Oct. 2 for the second series with a new storyline. Last season’s weekly vlogs return, joined by a new podcast series “Suspect”, where viewers can further immerse themselves in the world of true crime.

“The Bright Fight” centers around promoting online positivity and social responsibility. Digital media creators Scotty Sire, Nabela Noor and the Dobre Brothers use their reach to raise awareness for causes, including environmentalism, body positivity and cyber bullying. Content premieres on the digital creator’s social channels Oct. 16.

“With each of these shows, we’re talking about the realities of the connected generation’s daily life through humor, drama and empowering content,” Valerie Vargas, SVP, advertising and creative services, AT&T, said in a statement. “We hope viewers find a community within each of these shows that speaks to them and encourage each other to spread positivity and make constructive change in their own world.”

Maude Standish, VP of programming at Fullscreen, said the show’s content is increasing driven by viewer data seeking to avoid replicating content already on the Web.

“It’s important to remember that this kind of entertainment is a magic spell cast by us and completed by the audience,” said Standish. “They are critical to the success of all our programs.”

 

Oscar De La Hoya‘s Golden Boy Promotions Inks Live-Boxing Streaming Deal with Facebook

Olympic Gold medalist Oscar de la Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions has signed a partnership with Facebook to bring ad-supported live boxing to the social media giant’s Watch streaming platform.

The first of five live fights on Facebook Watch begin Aug. 11 featuring Jesus Rojas (26-1-2, 19 KOs) defending his WBA World Featherweight title against Joseph “JoJo” Diaz Jr. (26-1, 14 KOs) at the Avalon Theatre in Los Angeles.

Watch is available for free on mobile apps across Apple and Android, on desktop, laptop and smart TV apps.

Launched last August, Watch is projected to generate $565 million in revenue this year, including $200 million on original content spending, according to Morgan Stanley analyst Brian Nowak. The average Facebook user spends 50 minutes daily on the social media platform.

The platform earlier this year inked content deals with Fox News, CNN and Major League Baseball – the latter involving exclusive access to 25 afternoon games.

“This is a game-changing deal for the sport of boxing,” De la Hoya said in a statement. “The reach of Facebook is just incredible, and our sponsorship conversations will truly resonate with brands across all categories.”

The 1992 Gold medalist and world champion in six weight divisions, De la Hoya will be the executive producer on each fight, with Facebook incorporating real-time viewer interaction through its social media platform.

“Through this unique partnership, a global community of sports fans will have access to some of boxing’s most exciting live bouts and be able to interact with the action like never before,” said Devi Mahadevia, North America live sports programming lead at Facebook.