Facebook's first slate of Watch programming includes Lonzo Ball show, more
- Facebook's push into self-funded premium video content on its Watch feature began in earnest this week as shows from a number of publishers and entertainment companies are appearing under the new tab, according to Digiday. Facebook Watch, which is positioned to compete with YouTube, Netflix as well as linear TV, launches with 30 content partners, and a Facebook spokesperson told Digiday it will include hundreds of shows as it rolls out further in the U.S.
- Video content highlighted in the Digiday report includes: two shows from Business Insider’s lifestyle brand Insider titled "The Great Cheese Hunt" and "It's Cool, But Does It Really Work?"; "We Need to Talk" and "Health Hacks" from the news and issue publisher Attn.; "Wiki What?" and "Untangled" from Hearst; and Tastemade's four shows, "Safe Deposit," "Struggle Meals," "Food to Die For" and “Kitchen Little."
- There is also a reality show centered on Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball and his parents and siblings titled "Ball in the Family," according to The Wall Street Journal. "Ball in the Family" airs its first two episodes today, Aug. 31, and will continue to be shown every Sunday starting Sept. 10 with episodes running 15 to 20 minutes in length, per the Journal.
Facebook Watch, which was only officially unveiled a few weeks ago, is finally up and running after months of lead-up, but the question lingers over whether anyone is going to tune in. The new content is heavily publisher-centric, reflecting a broader push in the online media space to "pivot to video." However, recent reports have raised speculation over just how much viewer interest there is in getting inundated with video content online.
Facebook's initial slate of programming, while relatively diverse, is a hard sell against a number of competitors including over-the-top streaming services, skinny bundle cable packages and, of course, Google's YouTube, which Watch seems a direct response to. One advantage Facebook has is connectivity, where viewers can comment in real-time while they're watching, deftly integrating second screening into the experience. Publishers and other entertainment outlets producing shows for Watch should consider this aspect if they want their content to drive meaningful engagement.
Watch's success or failure will be significant for Facebook as ad load growth on its main platform continues to slow down in the year's second half. Facebook is expected to open up in-stream video ads to brands for the first time in a bid to create a commercial-like experience for Watch. Digiday also reported that sponsored Watch video from publishers will be arriving in the near future, bringing a stronger brand presence to the feature.
- Digiday Facebook starts rolling out funded shows for Watch
- The Wall Street Journal Facebook Lands Lonzo Ball and Basketball Family for Reality Show
- Digiday Coming soon to Facebook Watch: sponsored shows