Facebook Introduces 'Watch', Announces Funding of Original Content
Social networking giant Facebook recently launched a new video platform called 'Watch' for selected users across the U.S. The new service will feature original content produced by a range of media partners, including A&E, National Geographic, Hearst and others.
According to a recent blog post on Facebook, the new platform Watch will consist of original episodic programming with the intention to allow "creators and publishers to find an audience, build a community of passionate fans, and earn money for their work”. The rollout of Watch and the move into content funding confirms previous comments by Facebook executives about the company's aim to actively engage in the broadcast and video content industry.
In a related article on Variety.com, a Facebook spokesperson did not reveal any details on deals with the 30+ content partners but confirmed that Facebook made investments into the production of at least two titles: “Returning the Favor” starring Mike Rowe of "Dirty Jobs" fame, a show that explores the theme of community and giving back; and “Ball in the Family,” a reality series about the family of LaVar Ball.
It remains to be seen to what extent documentary programming and funding will play a role in Facebook's new video strategy, but considering the scope of media partners involved, the global doc industry may at some point be affected by Facebook's recent move.
Although currently limited to a select group of users in the U.S., the company envisions to eventually open up its premium video platform to all kinds of creators. At launch, Facebook aims to have several hundred shows available via Watch, including regular live broadcasts of Major League Baseball and National Geographic's "We're Wired that Way", a science show about the way humans tick.
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