Today Facebook officially opened its new Watch tab of original video content to everyone in the U.S. after a limited rollout a month ago and expansion to some more users last week. Available on Facebook’s native mobile apps, desktop site, and TV apps, Watch lets users subscribe to their favorite series instead of just haphazardly stumbling upon one-off videos in the News Feed. U.S. users will now see the TV icon in the mobile navigation bar and desktop site bookmarks.
Facebook is offering a range of different options for discovering video content, including a carousel of featured programs, and sections like “Today’s Spotlight”, “New This Week”, “Popular Now”, “What Friends Are Watching”, “Most Talked About”, “Suggested For You”, and a special “10 Minutes Or More” spot for long-form videos.
For now, Facebook is primarily highlighting reality shows, which partners are producing en masse since they’re cheap, don’t require set scripts, and can be watched piece-meal. But to really seduce audiences who frequent YouTube, Netflix, and cable TV, Facebook will need high quality scripted comedies and dramas.
One of the first signs of this content is the sci-fi short film ‘Lost Memories’ by independent filmmaker Francois Ferracci about a future “over-saturated by holograms”. Beyond that, it’s current offering isn’t very appealing, as the shows lack stars, big budgets, or cliff-hangers. But if you’re the type to just turn on the Discovery Channel and layback on the couch, you might find some fun time-wasters on Facebook Watch.
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