Streaming video online has exploded recently, and Facebook has hopped on the trend train.
In August of this year, Facebook announced a new feature packed with lofty goals: Facebook Watch. In their announcement in August, Facebook said, “We think Watch will be home to a wide range of shows, from reality, to comedy, to live sports. To help inspire creators and seed the ecosystem, we’ve also funded some shows that are examples of community-oriented and episodic video series.” They also mention that many of their upcoming programs will involve audience participation—in some cases, viewers will be able to determine what happens next in a series by voting for their preferences.
Facebook has announced a handful of programs that will come with celebrity hosts or well-known backers: Health Hacks, starring Jessica Alba, We Need To Talk, hosted by Ned Schulman, Animalism with Ed Yong (a science writer for the Atlantic), and Rising Stars with Neil deGrasse Tyson. Animal advocate organization The Dodo will sponsor three separate animal-related programs.
Reuters said it looks like Facebook is hoping to compete with YouTube’s ad revenue, which seems likely after many big-name sponsors pulled from YouTube this year because they didn’t want their ads appearing anywhere near extreme or inappropriate content. Some think that Facebook plans on conquering more lofty goals once they’ve cornered the market on short-form ad-funded reality TV—loftier goals such as the scripted original series that streaming services like Netflix, Amazon, and HBO have become known for.
Reality shows are less expensive to produce than scripted series, and that’s one reason some believe Facebook Watch is starting there. Available everywhere Facebook is—mobile, desktop, laptop—and through a new TV app, Watch will be personalized and give users the chance to subscribe as well as the opportunity to message other viewers while watching episodes.
Buzzfeed brings a new dating show to the Facebook Watch Table—RelationShipped, which premiered November 9. According to the Hollywood Reporter, RelationShipped puts a “social media spin on the reality dating format popularized by The Bachelor.” In the premiere, audiences are introduced to several bachelors—viewers then get to vote for which bachelor they pick to move on in the process of finding true love. Later, audiences will be given the opportunity to vote to select contestants and plan date activities.
Home Team, the first series to launch as part of the NowThis Sports umbrella on Facebook Watch, will focus on a local football team and include their reaction to the mass shooting in Las Vegas last month.
Facebook will no doubt give recommendations to users based on Facebook data. In a Forbes article on November 7, Artur Kiulian said that if Facebook wants Watch to succeed, their best bet will be to balance quality with engagement. Facebook has a history of inflating engagement metrics for video, so “if Facebook wants Watch to compete with YouTube, it has to deliver accurate, meaningful data to advertisers,” said Vik Patel.
As online platforms become more and more competitive—and better and better at intuitively knowing exactly what users want to see—businesses must keep updated on their campaigns, their data sets, and their competition, at all times. That’s where Domo comes in.