Facebook Watch Finally Launches In The United States: Is Facebook’s Dedicated Video Platform Any Good?
In recent years, Facebook has become not only a social media platform but also an avenue for viral videos. Nowadays, it's hard to scroll through one's newsfeed without landing on a video or two. It could be about anything: Snaps, short-form documentaries, and sometimes even live broadcasts.
Seeing this, Facebook went ahead and did what any company would do and announced plans to milk it. The company revealed in August that it wanted to tap into the rise of video on its platform and dedicate an entire tab filed to the brim with it, and now that tab, called "Watch," is finally launching.
Facebook Watch Video Platform Rolls Out
The new tab is now live for desktop, mobile, and Facebook TV users in the United States. Simple enough on paper, it's a special section of Facebook focusing on video content. It's got some original shows, content sponsored by the company, and videos from media partners.
So far, the place looks more like a barren, dry place than a lively avenue for binge-watching. It definitely needs to improve on a whole lot of fronts, one of which being curation. More importantly, as Facebook entices more content creators to make videos for Facebook Watch, it has to figure out what this hub really is for. It can't simply be a platform that has everything. Sure, it could try to be diverse and include all kinds of videos, but how will that make it different from YouTube?
If the current videos available on the platform are any indication — Talking Sexy in Chinese and Funeral Prank, as examples — it seems Facebook is tapping the inherent viral quality of content. With these videos, it also seems like the users bound to share the said content with friends, and there's certainly potential in that.
There are, however, more meaty shows such as a short film called Lost Memories, and Vox's American Gothic is Overrated. Pretty soon there'd be something in watch for everybody, but at this point, Facebook has to figure out if it intends to differentiate its service from YouTube, and if yes — how?
Facebook Watch Can Become Truly Great
Facebook needs to seduce those who are fond of watching YouTube, Netflix, and cable TV by producing more compelling content, TechCrunch notes. Then again, it's in a weird position of trying to gauge what users' watching habits are, if only to know if they'd be willing to spend time on the platform watching more complex, more challenging shows the likes of those on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon.
With everything told, it's still a great start.