People/Biz

Facebook rolls out Watch platform internationally

Tomorrow's launch marks the fourth high-profile entrant to the VOD market in Canada this year after CBS All Access, BritBox and Hayu.
August 29, 2018

Social media and social networking service Facebook has rolled out its Watch platform to global markets “everywhere” today (Aug. 29).

The global roll out comes a year after Facebook first launched the free platform in the U.S. At the time it was producing content for the platform with a range of partners including A&E, National Geographic and Hearst, among others.

Since its U.S. launch, Facebook has been ramping up its investment in original content, with some reports suggesting the company is set to spend at least US$1 billion over the next 12 months.

Original series released on Watch over the past year include docuseries Bear Grylls: Face the Wild from Electus and Bear Grylls Ventures, and Bunim/Murray Productions’ Ball in the Family; sports doc Behind Baker; and talk show Red Table Talk with Jada Pinkett Smith. On the Canadian side, a trio of short-form video series produced by Blue Ant Digital Studios launched on the service in February: Grade A Kitchen (5 x 10 minutes), Family of Champions (5 x 10 minutes) and Pixville Nightly (5 x 10 minutes).

While Facebook has more than two billion active users (as of January 2018), the company’s Watch platform does not necessarily have the awareness of some of the other digital-video platforms in the space. According to a Variety article citing a survey from research firm the Diffusion Group, 50% of adults in the U.S. said they had never heard of the service, while a further 24% said they had heard of it but never used it. Meanwhile, 6% said they used Watch on a daily basis, 8% weekly and 7% used the service between once and twice per month. Facebook says that more than 50 million people in the U.S. come to watch videos for at least a minute on Watch each month.

Watch can be accessed by iOS and Android as well as Apple TV, Samsung Smart TV, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Xbox One, and Oculus TV.

From Playback Daily

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