Facebook introduces new video service

Social media giant Facebook has made a move into dedicated video, pitting it against YouTube and TV networks. Users will soon see a new Watch tab that will offer a range of shows, some of which have been funded by the social network. Watch will be personalised so that users can discover new shows, based on what their friends are watching.

Social media giant Facebook has made a move into dedicated video, pitting it against YouTube and TV networks.

Users will soon see a new Watch tab that will offer a range of shows, some of which have been funded by the social network.

Watch will be personalised so that users can discover new shows, based on what their friends are watching.

Viewers will also be able to see comments and connect with friends and dedicated groups for shows.

"Watching a show doesn't have to be passive," said the company's founder Mark Zuckerberg in a Facebook post.

"It can be a chance to share an experience and bring people together who care about the same things."

Video has been available on Facebook for some time, but until now, it has mostly been dominated by amateur clips or short segments from news organisations.

The world's largest social network added a video tab last year, and has hinted for some time that it might make the move to producing original content.

Watch could open up new revenue potential for both Facebook and programme makers, while users can expect to see targeted advertising before and during the shows.

Facebook says it hopes its selection of shows will address both niche and broad interests.

If the choice at launch is anything to go by, its focus will be factual entertainment - cookery, fitness and travel-themed programmes that play well on a smartphone screen, rather than flagship dramas like House of Cards or Game of Thrones, which are both more expensive to produce and better suited for playback on TVs.

For now, only a small set of approved publishers can include ad breaks, but he said the list would broaden over time, although it was too soon to say if it would extend to all.

That could prove critical to wooing content-makers away from YouTube.

For the moment, Google's video streaming site still offers an easier way for popular vloggers and others outside the mainstream media industry to make money from their efforts.

Agencies

 

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