Here’s the deal, Facebook continues to change, evolve, and well, even frustrate. Facebook claims that Facebook Watch isn’t the same as Netflix or YouTube… “We’re like nothing you’ve ever seen before!” However, after taking WAY too many hours digging into the latest research on Facebook Watch, I can’t help but think of Watch as the offspring of a Netflix and YouTube bromance. You know when you look at two separate platforms and all you can see are similarities? Yeah… that’s how I’m picturing Facebook Watch. To say the least, it’s pretty obvious where Facebook’s inspiration came from.
Think of Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go or Amazon Prime Video, their platforms ONLY offer professionally produced materials with a growing focus on original series. Sure, some of their shows might be lower budget projects, however nothing on these platforms is filmed on a mobile device or simply home video quality. Keep in mind, most of these platforms look at original content as the true opportunities for growth and profitability.
Now, let’s take a look at YouTube. This platform offers an exceptional place for ANYONE to post content. If you want to post a progressive of your puppy’s training sessions, go for it. Your brother created a homemade jump for the family four-wheeler? Great, post it on YouTube, you’ll fit right in! YouTube has been THE hub for user-generated video content. While they have ventured into providing professionally produced content as well, users tend to stick with their favorite streaming service to watch these films in order to avoid one watch rental fees.
The lack of production level variation amongst platforms such as Netflix, Hulu and YouTube is exactly what gave Facebook the green light to develop Watch. Facebook Watch offers professionally produced material such as Kerry Washington’s Five Points short series ( https://www.facebook.com/fivepoints/ ), the reality show series Tom VS. Time that opens up the hood into New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s personal life( https://www.facebook.com/tomvstime/ ), and also user generated content such as the Cincinnati Zoo’s series about Fiona the Hippo ( https://www.facebook.com/thefionashow/ ). Perhaps the most intriguing factor of Facebook Watch since it’s release almost exactly one year ago is that Facebook has dedicated a hefty budget towards funding the production of numerous series specifically for their platform.
Facebook Watch has differentiated itself not by providing anything extremely groundbreaking, but instead by combining different features onto a single platform.
Once Facebook is finished experimenting with Watch and increases the functionality of the platform, Facebook users will possibly be able to post their user generated content on the same platform where they watch Hollywood films and series.
How will Watch help Facebook?
Let’s be honest, even though Facebook is a powerhouse, they need a little bit of help right now. Ever since Facebook’s scandal involving the improperly shared data of 87 million people with Cambridge Analytica, the social media powerhouse has needed to refocus their efforts to climb back up the ladder of popularity amongst the public. In addition to this bump in the road, last month Facebook’s stocks plummeted $119 billion in just one day. No company in the history of the U.S. has EVER lost even $100 billion a day. Mark Zuckerberg alone lost $15.7 billion overnight.
With all of this in mind, Facebook is in need of a new revenue stream to encourage investors while simultaneously making users happier than ever before. Below is a list of potential benefits that Facebook Watch could bring for the company.
How does Watch benefit Facebook users?
Facebook users will be able to do more on one single platform, and this simplicity is appreciated. Not only will users be able to socialize and post life updates, but they will be able to watch Hollywood films, DIY craft videos and vlogging series all in one place. Instead of just randomly coming across potentially entertaining videos on their newsfeed, users will receive playlists of recommended videos and also be able to subscribe to Watch channels that are of interest to them.
Why should businesses be interested in Facebook Watch?
Thus far, all of the content on Facebook Watch has been hand selected by Facebook. Slowly but surely, more shows are being added to the streaming docket. In addition to commercial advertising possibilities, arguably the biggest perk to businesses becoming involved with Facebook Watch is the ability to create original content that will be delivered directly to their target audience’s fingertips.
Why has Netflix invested so heavily ($8 billion budgeted for 2018 alone) in original content? Authenticity. Connection. Engagement.
Netflix has mastered the art of developing customer loyalty through original series that have allowed them to put their brand in front of real viewership. This same success could be within reach for companies that choose to provide original video content on Facebook Watch, where they already have the audience present. Instead of starting from scratch on YouTube, businesses will be able to have their current and future followers subscribe to their Watch channel on Facebook. This type of direct, valuable, consistent exposure could be the next big “thing” for marketing.