Blog challenge 58/99: Facebook watch app

Using the Watch tab on your Facebook page, viewers are now able to access a feed of recommended videos, as well as a customisable list of content from pages they follow.

Rolling out Watch in the United States in August 2017, the social media company has a range of exclusive projects paid for by Facebook — even digital news shows from the likes of CNN and Fox News.

But in Australia, Facebook executives have not yet announced any local Facebook-funded or Facebook-only news or entertainment content.

Vice-president of product Fidji Simo said it is focusing directly bankrolled efforts on shows that have "global appeal".

Facebook has also pushed sports video from the likes of CrossFit on Watch in America. Matthew Henick, Facebook's head of content planning and strategy, would not say if the company plans to chase sporting rights in Australia.

Unique content, like an exclusive football game, could be critical to drawing eyeballs here, according to Roy Morgan Research CEO Michele Levine.

"At face value, you would have to say, if you haven't really got anything to offer, then it's hard to see why people would bother," Ms Levine said.

"You've got to be unique or special, you've got to keep up and this is maybe where Facebook will play, it has to be really frictionless."

A new way of making money

Watch has been online for a year, but Australians may be largely unaware of its more highly-viewed shows, such as the Jada Pinkett Smith-helmed Red Table Talk.

Ms Simo claimed more than 50 million people in the United States have come to watch videos for at least a minute in Facebook Watch each month, but the platform is yet to produce a show that crosses over and generates award chatter, as both Amazon and Netflix have.

"I think it's important to be clear that success for us is likely not going to look like the other platforms — a big prestige drama. That's not really what we're shooting for," she added.

"What we're shooting for is shows that deeply engage in specific communities, and make people who are fans of that show feel like part of the action."

It's also about new ways to make money: Facebook is rolling out Ad Break in Australia, which allows publishers to insert mid-roll and pre-roll advertising into their videos.

Facebook take a 45 per cent cut of such revenue. Thanks for reading