Fidji Simo, Head of Video at Facebook, has revealed that three months since its global launch, there are already more than 400 million people monthly and 75 million people daily who spend at least one minute on Facebook Watch.
In a Blog Post looking back on 2018 and looking ahead to 2019, Simo described 2018 as “a big year” for Facebook Watch. “Watch launched to every country around the world, the platform opened to videos from all Pages, and we debuted dozens of Facebook Originals,” he said, adding that Watch also screened live LaLiga football matches in the Indian subcontinent.
According to Simo, on average, these 75 million daily visitors spend more than 20 minutes in Watch. “We’re seeing that people are regularly coming back to catch up on the videos they care about and watching for longer periods of time. In this post, we’re sharing more details on our video strategy and a range of new updates for Watch,” he revealed.
“We know that people have a range of video offerings available to them, but Watch is more than just library of videos — it’s a place where people can follow video creators they care about, start conversations about videos with friends, and build communities of fans who share their interests. Watching video has always been a social experience, but as people increasingly watch video online, it has become more solitary. With Facebook Watch, we set out to demonstrate what it looks like to build deep bonds through watching online video, instead of just having a passive viewing experience,” he explained.
Simo said that Facebook was focused on bringing more social experiences to Watch, making it easier to find and watch videos together with friends. “We’re also working to unify the video experience across Facebook. Right now, people can find videos on Facebook in a number of different places — Watch, News Feed, Search, Pages and more — and all of these can feel different. We want to make the experience of watching video feel immersive no matter where you discovered it. As part of this effort, we’ll be testing a few things in the coming months, like creating a darker background whenever you immerse yourself into a video on mobile, unifying these different viewing experiences under one,” he advised. “And today we’re sharing that people can now find Watch on more surfaces. In August, we rolled out Watch globally on mobile, and from today, Watch is now available around the world on desktop and on Facebook Lite.”
He said that since the beginning, Facebook had been focused on making Watch a place where all creators and publishers can find an audience and build a community of passionate fans — and importantly, earn money for their work. “We know that building a sustainable ecosystem for video creators is the best way to bring great content to the platform, and this was our goal with opening Watch to all Pages and rolling out Ad Breaks. Our initial launch of Ad Breaks was to five countries in August, and we have been focused on rolling out the product over the past few months. Today we are announcing that Ad Breaks are now available to eligible Pages in 40 countries around the world,” he revealed.
“In 2019, we will continue to expand the ways publishers and creators can make money on Facebook. We’ll bring Ad Breaks to video creators in more countries around the world, and will test new Ad Breaks placements, like in livestreams from gaming creators. We want to bring Brand Collabs Manager to more countries to help match brands and creators for sponsorship deals, and will be expanding our fan subscriptions test. We’re also exploring new opportunities for advertisers. In September, we introduced In-Stream Reserve for premium online video and TV buyers to deliver their ads alongside the highest-quality Watch content, and next year we will continue to provide advertisers with more options to tailor their video ad campaigns and connect with their target audience,” he said.
He admitted that Facebook had learned that for monetisation products to work, they must balance the unique needs of video creators, people, and advertisers, providing value for all parties. “Next year, we will continue focusing on enhancing these tools to enable publishers and creators to generate meaningful revenue from their engaged, loyal audiences on Facebook.”
He advised that moving into 2019, Facebook would continue funding Originals, announcing the renewal of four shows for a second season: Huda Boss, Five Points, Sacred Lies, and Sorry For Your Loss. “These shows all cultivated deeply engaged fan bases who came for the episodes, but stayed for the conversations — and are a great example of what can happen when content and community come together seamlessly,” he suggested, adding that Facebook’s content strategy goes beyond Originals — including licensing, partnerships, and more — so that it could test and learn about new video experiences. “Above all, our strategy is about identifying the type of content that people want to talk about, and helping people have meaningful connections around that content on Facebook,” he said.
“Since launch, our aim with Facebook Watch has been to create a destination that people can visit to find the videos that matter to them, the video creators they want to see, and other fans that they can connect with. Everything we do is in service of this, and we’ll continue this mission in 2019,” he concluded.
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