Facebook has been hinting at the launch of a new video streaming service for some time, and now the tech R&D firm and social media king has finally unveiled their creation they’re calling “Watch.” The platform is being described as a highly customizable and social streaming video service which allows “all creators and publishers to find an audience, build a community of passionate fans, and earn money for their work.”
Facebook issued a press release this week detailing the features they’ve already developed for the launch of Watch. Naturally, given that Facebook already knows everything about you and your social network (including things you don’t even know about yourself), Watch will have a significant social component to it. Watch will let users sort videos according to various social criteria such as “Most Talked About,” “What’s Making People Laugh,” and “What Friends Are Watching.” Presumably, this will mean that all of your Facebook friends will now know just how deep your My Little Pony obsession goes by updating them of every fan fic video you watch. It’s cool though, brony. People like what they like. Including weird people like bronies.
Facebook’s press release divides the types of content they think will succeed on Watch into four main categories: “Shows that engage fans and community;” “Live shows that connect directly with fans;” “Shows that follow a narrative arc or have a consistent theme;” and “Live events that bring communities together.” In other words, pretty much any type of television. However, the social component of Watch will likely lead to new levels of audience interaction and feedback not typically found on other streaming video sites or television media. Watch will also feature live sports broadcasts, news, and stand up comedy.
The platform will feature both low-budget, homemade videos and studio-backed professional productions. Facebook has already begun promoting one of their launch titles, Mike Rowe’s Returning the Favor. In the series, Facebook users nominate extraordinary people who give back to their communities, after which Rowe visits them and rewards them for their service.
Facebook Watch will begin beta testing in certain markets over the next few weeks, after which a full roll-out is expected later this year. Watch is supported on mobile devices, web browsers, or on Facebook’s apps on select smart TVs.