Facebook Watch to challenge YouTube in 2018

It’s been common knowledge for some time that Facebook wants to be a video programming hub and original content provider to rival Netflix or Hulu, for the sole purpose of increasing video ad space. 

Following the mid-August redesign and launch of the Watch tab, the current home of original video content on Facebook, we started to see some real investment in new, original content and even tie-in deals with major sporting events. However, Facebook Watch doesn’t seem to have the runaway momentum most of their other platform innovations do. 

The importance of dominating the video purveyor market is twofold;

Firstly, to provide a new source of revenue by creating more visual ad space within Facebook. Secondly, to gain a larger share of the digital ad market currently spent on big content providers YouTube, Amazon, and Netflix etc. 

According to The Wall Street Journal Facebook is “willing to spend as much as $1 billion” on original video content in the coming year, matching Apple’s projected spend, which is a pittance compared with digital competitors, like Netflix ($6 billion in 2017) and Amazon ($4.5 billion), but still a massive increase for Facebook. 

In addition to the big creators, Facebook are catering to the one-man-band Vloggers too. Facebook has talked to media buyers about expanding Watch to more individual creators and creating an advertising system where everyone would get a split of revenue, similar to YouTube.

To lure publishers in it has been suggested that brands will be able to select which shows they want to advertise on and potentially create a tiered advertising system to allow companies to advertise on top Watch videos.

The increased investment, creator revenue share and innovative partnerships with media creators should mean big things for ad space in the coming 12 months. Publishers should be excited to take advantage of it. 

Stay tuned for more on Facebook Watch and upcoming changes. 

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