Facebook Watch Platform Plans and Ambitions for 2018

By Thoinot Arbeau / January 3, 2018

To stay competitive in the huge internet market, you have to make changes, even if you're as successful as Facebook. Growth in popularity of video streaming services led this social network titan to launch Facebook Watch platform. But things seem to look a little shaky for this video on demand newborn, and that's why 2018 is considered to be a decisive year for Facebook Watch.

Facebook Watch was launched in August 2017 and is available only to United States residents for now. This new video-viewing section led to Facebook spending a lot of money on original content, driving in various publishing partners, like BuzzFeed, Mashable, Group Nine Media, and others. With the new year already starting, here are some changes that Facebook Watch looks to make in 2018.

Bigger Budget, Longer Shows

According to Wall Street Journal, Facebook is looking to spend $1 billion for original content in the upcoming year. When Facebook began searching for shows to put on Watch, they were primarily interested in series that are short-formed. These were usually revolved around unscripted and lifestyle shorts that are not expensive to produce. However, new budget predictions are suggesting that Facebook will start looking for longer content that requires much more money to be made. Ultimately, what Facebook wants is to create a more Netflix-like platform than a YouTube looking one. They are putting themselves in a far more difficult position in terms of making a success, and it's questionable how they will handle it.

Facebook On Smart TV
But this is not where the story ends with their ambitions. Facebook is taking a serious interest in streaming sports games as well. A potential partnership with NBA league, or NFL, can provide a great opportunity to sell ads at much higher rates.

Problems with Facebook Watch Platform

People haven't started to get used to the fact that Facebook is a place where you can watch 20-plus-minute shows. Many shows on Watch are collecting good view counts, but most of those views are still coming from the news feed, and thanks to the three-second view rule. Making people go over to Watch is going to be their first order of business. People getting accustomed to using a Facebook App and connecting it to a TV device for watching shows is something that is going to take time.

Problems With Facebook Watch
While asking for bigger shows, Facebook is also looking to change their deal terms with publishers. They want to own this content now, instead of having a two-week exclusivity period that was in play for the short-term shows. This created a sort of dilemma for publishers, who now have fewer options. In other words, if the publisher doesn't own the show, he can't create additional revenue by reselling it to other distributors in the future. Although budgets will rise, producers are only looking at 10-15% profit margins. This again proves the point that Facebook would like to copy Netflix to some extent. Netflix also follows that trend of owning a lot of content it buys.

Final Thoughts

Whether Facebook is going to become a successful video streaming business or not, only time will tell. One thing is certain, and that is that this year will determine their future in the field. In the meantime, people are still used to using other "more traditional" streaming services, like Netflix, Hulu, or even Kodi. Facebook Watch platform is determined to join that club, and we are left to see how they cope.

What do you think about Facebook Watch and their strive to make it in video streaming business? Are you interested in using the service in the future, and what quality of content do you expect? Feel free to leave a comment on your thoughts on the subject.

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