In simple terms: Facebook Watch is the social giant’s original video channel or hub. Mark Zuckerberg’s vision of Facebook’s future is all about video and Facebook Watch – announced recently and often referred to as “YouTube competitor” – is now available to all Facebook users in the US.
Available via the native mobile apps, desktop as well as TV apps, Facebook Watch will offer hundreds of new shows (as opposed to random clips and third-party video content) created exclusively for the platform by a range of partners. Some productions will be co-financed by Facebook, some will be sponsored by new media partnerships.
Initial reception (well, it’s early days) has been lukewarm – right now there are no high quality productions to match what Netflix or Amazon Prime can offer.
Most of the launch content seems to focus on reality shows and some scripted comedy shows, but there are more ambitious plans to launch proper scripted shows in the future.
If you liked Humans of New York, the wildly-popular photography/Instagram phenomenon, you will also be able to watch “Humans of New York” the TV show on Facebook Watch. Other channels soon available on Facebook Watch include Discovery, Tastemade and Major League Baseball.
But that’s the future. For now critics lament over-reliance on cheap productions, way too much serialised reality TV-style content and poor layout.
Facebook Watch – for now available to users in the US – is likely to be rolled out to users outside the States at some point in the future.