The prospects for publishers on the social network’s new video offering are still uncertain.
Facebook Watch receives seventy five million viewers daily, according to new statistics shared by the company. However despite its growth, the platform remains a fraction the size of its most vital rival, YouTube, and some media companies are concerned by the platform’s changing character.
On Thursday, Facebook gave its most detailed look at the scale of Watch, the video offering it launched in 2017 to get people to watch longer type programming. Facebook aforesaid its seventy five million daily viewers spend twenty minutes on average daily on Watch videos, and there are four hundred million people who visit Watch monthly for at least a minute. that makes Watch a sprout compared to YouTube, which has 1.9 billion monthly viewers and claims sixty billion minutes daily of view time across the service.
Jim Nail, a researcher with Forrester, wasn’t impressed by Facebook’s numbers, saying “20 minutes is a minimal amount of time.” The time spent suggests that Watch has not quite changed into a destination for committed viewing, and is probably going similar to other Facebook video viewing habits.
“As far as client behavior goes, likely this is ‘time-killer’ viewing, in line waiting, on the bus or train traveling,” Nail aforesaid. “On the other hand, seventy five million is a vital number.”
The service was unveiled a bit more than a year ago, and ceo Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged within the latest earnings call with Wall Street analysts that it’s not grown as quick as the company hoped.
Facebook is in a heated rivalry with YouTube, and smaller platforms like Snapchat and Twitter even, to develop premium ad-supported shows that could potentially lead the way to the next-generation of TV. All the platforms are trying to convince advertisers that they have quality shows that charm to audiences who are watching less TV, and they hope their ads can command TV-like prices from brands.
However, these offerings solely charm to advertisers if they can show that the audience is as engaged as they’re on TV. Facebook has had to rethink its Watch strategy multiple times within the past year, each time giving media partners a brand new mandate on what kind of content it wants. Partners say that the uncertainty has created.
Watch is difficult to master.
A person, who works for a high publisher on Facebook, and spoke on condition of anonymity, says it no longer pitches news shows, because it’s currently all aboutentertainment and lifestyle programming. Another publishing partner, also speaking on condition of anonymity, says that even straightforward requests from Facebook, like changing the perfect length it suggests for videos, adds to confusion concerning the platform.
One of the biggest changes to deal with, however, is funding. Another media executive, speaking on condition of anonymity, says Facebook isn’t as fascinated by originals from them, meaning shows Facebook buys outright to produce.
“Original content is pricey,” the media executive says. “The question is does Facebook want to pump cash into Watch. If not, that’s a sign they aren’t as bullish as they once were.”
A Facebook spokesperson aforementioned by e-mail that Facebook has created “dozens” of originals and helped fund many more shows, however the broader strategy has always included licensing and ad revenue sharing deals, too.
Facebook launched Watch with shows it paid to produce from publishers like the Atlantic, Mashable, Tastemade, Business Insider, The Dodo, Univision and others. Facebook was cutting massive checks to get the media corporations to create for the service.
Within months, Facebook wanted most of its media partners to switch to an entirely ad-supported model, where publishers could make enough cash splitting ad revenue that they would be inclined to make their own shows for Watch without Facebook’s backing. Facebook additionally looked for deals with major networks like CBS and Viacom, which both currently post videos from their network TV properties.
This summer, Facebook tried another news endeavor, led by Fox News and CNN, making current affairs programming, which the social network funded. Currently that program is reportedly in retrenchment.
This leaves Facebook programming Watch with a variety of methods, paying for original shows, licensing shows and easily splitting ads with the content providers it doesn’t pay directly.
Facebook announced shows that would get new seasons, mostly scripted shows and dramas, like “Sorry For Your Loss,” a series from Elizabeth Olsen, and Kerry Washington’s “Five Points.” in the meantime recode reported that Facebook was in talks with AT&T, which owns Time Warner, to offer HBO through its platform.
Networks like Viacom are still producing with Watch, with MTV making a “Real World” spinoff for the site and other programs.
“Any time you try to launch a new platform a new content business there’s going be hits and misses,” says Kelly Day, president of Viacom Digital Studios. She says Viacom has seen early signs of success on Watch with Comedy Central’s “Between the Scenes,” a program featuring The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah, which can generate up to seventy million views.
“Facebook has got to train the audience to look for that sort content, and it’s not going to happen overnight,” Day says.