After it’s initial launch in the US in 2017, Facebook is rolling out its Watch video service globally one year after it launched in the United States with original entertainment news and sports content to compete with platforms like YouTube.
Facebook said Watch creators in four new countries (the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand) will be able to profit from their shows via the “Ad Breaks” service. It will roll out to another 21 countries next month, including France, Germany, Spain, Argentina and Thailand. Facebook also lowered the threshold to monetise a channel: You now need just 10,000 followers or to generate more than 30,000 one minute views per month.
Facebook’s Head of Video Fidji Simo said Watch was gaining real momentum in a crowded marketplace because it has been built on the idea that watching videos can be a social activity.
“Every month more than 50 million people in the U.S. come to watch videos for at least a minute on Watch, and total time spent watching video on Facebook Watch has increased by 14 times since the start of 2018,” she told reporters.
“With Watch … you can have a two-way conversation about the content with friends, other fans or even the creatives themselves.”
Watch is often portrayed as a rival to Google’s YouTube, but it also competes for attention against traditional TV channels as well as online outlets including Netflix, Amazon Video, BBC iPlayer and Facebook’s own Instagram TV.
A study published last week suggests that it only had niche appeal in its first year in the US. Of 1,632 adult Facebook users questioned, 50% had never heard of Watch, while 24% said they were aware of the on-demand service but had never used it, according to the Diffusion Group.