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.”