People/Biz

MIPCOM ’17: Danker, Van Veen talk Facebook’s Watch

Tomorrow (October 19) marks the sixth week since global social networking platform Facebook unveiled its original video content initiative Watch. In that time, Ricky Van Veen (pictured), Facebook’s head of global creative strategy, has ...
October 18, 2017

Tomorrow (October 19) marks the sixth week since global social networking platform Facebook unveiled its original video content initiative Watch.

In that time, Ricky Van Veen (pictured), Facebook’s head of global creative strategy, has already been contemplating the platform’s potential when it comes to reaching its two billion global users.

“Will somebody out there create a global show that the entire world wants to watch at the same time? It sounds lofty and idealistic but now it’s possible,” said Van Veen during a keynote session Wednesday (Oct. 18) at MIPCOM in Cannes.

Watch already boasts nearly 1,000 shows from publishers and creators. Facebook is also simultaneously funding a small number of shows to examine the outcome of community-driven programming. The series Make Up or Break Up, one example of a fan-oriented series currently available, features couples with relationship woes receiving feedback from the online audience.

Watch has also already renewed sophomore seasons of Bunim/Murray Productions’ Ball in the Family (pictured) and Return the Favor from Hudsun Media, featuring Mike Rowe.

Dan Danker, the social platform’s director of video product, noted that video is growing in popularity on Facebook, with 50% of mobile data traffic going to that medium — a number that is set to grow to 75% in the next five years. The platform’s instant video streaming service, Facebook Live, is part of that growth. One in five videos on the social media platform originates as a Live video.

“So you can see, video is playing a huge role in what’s happening with consumption and data on the Internet,” Danker noted.

He said video creates an opportunity to bring people together and build connections, and Facebook’s Watch platform is a place where that can be further fostered.

In developing those relationships and communities on Facebook’s Watch, Van Veen said the content the team is looking for is tailored for the video platform. Make Up or Break Up fits that focus, as it’s a show with a premise that relies on audience engagement.

Watch content should, according to Van Veen, “activate communities.” This can be done by tapping into an existing group, as the show The Great Cheese Hunt did by targeting cheese enthusiasts. Programming can also build communities by using feedback from an established audience to inform the storyline of the show, as is done in Return the Favor.

About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news editor at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joined the RS team in 2015 with experience in journalism following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and with communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.

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