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.”