Facebook Watch notches up 400m viewers

2018 was a big year for Facebook's video-on-demand service.
2018 was a big year for Facebook's video-on-demand service.

Facebook's video-on-demand service, Facebook Watch has grown to over 400 million monthly viewers and 75 million daily viewers.

Facebook Watch was launched in the US a year ago, and was rolled out across the globe in August.

The video-on-demand service offers users personalised recommendations for videos to watch from different genres, including news, sports and entertainment.

The YouTube rival carries a collection of recent videos from the pages followed by users and allows them to watch through the "Watch Feed".

Fidji Simo, head of video at Facebook, says 2018 was a big year for Facebook Watch, with the platform growing to 75 million daily viewers, who spend at least one minute on each video.

"Three months since our global launch, there are already more than 400 million people viewingFacebook Watch monthly.We're seeing that people are regularly coming back to catch up on the videos they care about and watching for longer periods of time.

"The ability to connect more deeply around content is what sets the video experience on Facebook apart. We learned with Facebook Live how powerful it is when people can connect with each other around videos in real time, and we've been building new video formats and features that capture the togetherness of Live."

On Watch, users can see hundreds of shows from the likes of Vox, Buzzfeed, Discovery Communications, A&E Networks, Walt Disney's ABC, as well as live sports like Major League Baseball.

According to Reuters, Facebook initially paid some content creators for shows to drive interest, but said it did not intend to make buying content a core piece of its strategy.

Popular shows gain viewers

Among the popular videos, that got people talking this year, was Jada Pinkett Smith's breakout talk show Red Table Talk, critically acclaimed US dramas, Sorry For Your Loss and Sacred Lies, produced by show runner Raelle Tucker.

India's live football matches programme, LaLiga and interactive global game show Confetti were among the popular action packed programmes, according to Simo.

In August, Facebook rolled out Watch on mobile and now the service is also available on desktop and Facebook Lite.

"Since the summer we have been working to bring Watch Party [group viewing] to everyone on Facebook. We've seen it really take off - there have been more than 12 million Watch Parties in groups alone," notes Simo.

In September, Facebook introduced In-Stream Reserve for premium online video and TV buyers to deliver their ads alongside the Watch content, with future plans to provide advertisers with more options to tailor their video ad campaigns and connect with their target audience.

"We believe it's possible to rethink a lot of experiences through the lens of building community, including watching video. Watching a show doesn't have to be passive. It can be a chance to share an experience and bring people together who care about the same things," said Facebook CEO and founder, Mark Zuckerberg, at the Facebook Watch announcement last year.

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