Facebook Launches Watch Tab and Original Shows to Select Users
Is Facebook TV? The social network introduced its Watch tab yesterday, along with its first pieces of original content. Watch is staring off with limited availability in the United States, and will be available on desktop, mobile, and TV devices. It will expand to more viewers in the coming weeks.
As Facebook relies more and more on video, the Watch tab gives members a dedicated place to find live and recorded content. Shows are episodic, and Watch has its own watchlist so people know what to view next.
Organized lists help the Watch tab feel social. Viewers will see groupings such as "Most Talked About" and "What's Making People Laugh" that make viewing a community activity. They can see "What Friends Are Watching" for more personal recommendations. Viewers can also post comments and see those from other people.
Viewers can even get involved in shaping some of the programming. In "Returning the Favor," for example, Mike Rowe helps out people who are helping their communities. Those people are nominated by the Facebook audience. Debut Watch content includes a science show from National Geographic, a kids' cooking show from Tastemade, a show about celebrity moms from Time Inc, and live Friday night games from MLB. While Facebook funded its first shows with a select group of producers, it plans to open the area up to all creators in the future. The launch includes content from A&E, Hearst, Time Inc., and more.
Creators will be able to monetize their shows through ad breaks and brand sponsorships. Creators will keep 55 percent of ad revenue, while Facebook will take 45 percent. Anyone interested in creating a show is invited to drop Facebook a note.
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Financial terms were not disclosed and the full schedule has not been revealed, but fans will be able to enjoy the streams free from local blackouts.
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