Facebook’s push to become a major power in the world of streaming video continued this week with the introduction of Watch, a new video platform featuring original and licensed shows on the social network. Unlike the Video tab that currently resides on Facebook, Watch will be filled with episodes of shows that follow a theme or storyline, rather than just short cooking videos or viral clips.
Starting soon, Watch will be made available to a limited group of Facebook users in the United States on mobile, desktop and TV apps. The same is true for content creators — only a limited number of creators and publishers will have access to shows in the initial rollout of Watch.
Some of the shows available at launch include Nas Daily, a daily show where a creator makes videos with his fans; Gabby Bernstein, a show from a motivational speaker who answers questions and gives advice; and Kitchen Little, a show about kids who try to instruct professional chefs on how to cook a meal. Also, Facebook has a deal with MLB to broadcast one baseball game a week.
In addition to appearing on the Watch tab, shows will also have their own Show Pages where fans can learn what the show is about, watch episodes of the show and interact with the community that forms around the show. If you follow a show, Facebook will let you know when there’s a new episode.
According to Facebook, creators will one day be able to monetize their shows through ad breaks. While Facebook is funding some shows itself to kick start the platform, the social network will eventually split ad revenue with show creators, taking 45% and leaving 55% for the show.
Facebook made its intentions clear in regards to streaming video long ago, but now it’s finally time to see if the company can truly compete with the likes of Netflix and Hulu. The good news for Facebook is that it already has a built-in user base of 2 billion people on day one. That’s quite the head start.