With Apple, Amazon, and Netflix making millions through shows and video content, it looks like Facebook has decided to jump on the video streaming bandwagon.
The social media networking company announced its own video streaming service – WATCH – will begin rolling out to a small percent of users in beta form.
Watch will feature original programming financed by Facebook, alongside videos from other creators in a tab that will become personalized to users’ interests over time. It will replace the current video tab for users tomorrow in Facebook’s apps for Android, iOS, the web, and television.
Shows that will be available at launch include Nas Daily which features a creator who makes a daily video with his fans; Gabby Bernstein, an interactive show from the popular motivational speaker; and Kitchen Little created by the publisher Tastemade which follows kids making recipes with professional chefs. Facebook also reached a deal with Major League Baseball to broadcast one live game every week.
Watch will allow users to view videos and subscribe to channels outside of their own feed more easily, while also giving them a way to create Watchlists.
According to TechCrunch, Facebook made a deal with the partners creating original content so they will get 55% of the ad break revenue.
Watch is expected to debut on August 28. Roughly 40 shows from a range of publishing partners and content studios will be included in the first slate of programming.
Facebook has been willing to pay millions for exclusive rights to more premium, longer shows, while less expensive and shorter shows reportedly cost between $5,000 and $20,000. By all accounts, Facebook may feel threatened with the massive online streaming industry currently led by Netflix.
Facebook sees high-quality, scripted video as an important feature to retain users, particularly within the younger demographic that is increasingly flocking to rival Snapchat, as well as a means to rake in brand advertising dollars traditionally reserved for traditional TV. Facebook may also soon be venturing into many other services that are offered by their competitors.