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 Watch Video Service Expands Globally

Facebook Watch, the social media behemoth’s streaming video platform launched a year ago, is expanding worldwide. The platform will be available to Facebook users globally beginning Aug. 30.

The move comes more than two years after Netflix launched globally, and Amazon followed expanding Prime Video to 200 countries in December 2016.

“This is a really important moment for us,” Fidji Simo, head of video at Facebook, said in a statement. “It’s been a year of real progress for Watch. Every month, more than 50 million people in the U.S. come to Watch, and the total time spent has increased 14 times since the start of 2018.”

Maybe, but according to recent data from The Diffusion Group, more than 50% of Facebook users don’t know what Watch is. And fewer still use it. A noteworthy statistic considering Facebook is spending upwards of $1-2 billion on original content for the platform.

Content includes access to select professional soccer and Major League Baseball games, “SKAM Austin,” an episodic teen drama series, based on the Norwegian Web series “Skam,” and “Red Table Talk,” a talk show starring Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith, and Adrienne Banfield-Norris that premiered on May 7 and reportedly has nearly 3 million viewers.

Matthew Henick, head of content planning and strategy and media partnerships at Facebook, said worldwide access to Watch would help third-party publishers and content creators better monetize their videos and better understand how their content is performing.

“[We’re] excited to bring a new distribution platform to our partners around the world,” he said.