Facebook’s 2 million users spend about 50 minutes a day on Facebook, that begs the question: exactly what exactly does Facebook need one to do with the other 23 hours and 10 minutes of daily?
On Wednesday, the organization’s plans for that residual time became clearer. Yep, it is here: fulfill Facebook Watch.
Facebook Watch marks the social network’s entry into the high-end video arena. It’s an arms race that currently contains Netflix, Amazon, Twitter, Snapchat, Hulu, Google (YouTube), Apple, Comcast, Verizon, Sony, and a lot more.
Watch features exclusive and original video series, from a handful of big-name partners that interval the media picture. Digital natives such as BuzzFeed and Tastemade are making content for Facebook, as are heritage companies, such as Hearst and A&E. (Disclosure: Mashable can also be a Watch partner.)
When contemplating just how massive Facebook is, and all the insane technology it is working on (recall skin that may hear?) , it is a small step. But in terms of Facebook’s bigger ambitionsmostly, to keep folks on its platform for more time, so more moneyit’s a huge jump.
The simple fact for Facebook and every other tech and networking giant is that the majority of people now have every waking minute of the lives spoken for, thanks especially to the ubiquity of smartphones. It’s why Netflix CEO Reed Hastings likes to joke this that the business’s biggest rival is sleeping. Netflix gets 93 minutes per day from its customers, and of course $10 dollars a month.
And that time dedicated to Netflix is something Facebook can not abide. They’re gunning for this 93 minutes, plus they’re done trying to maximize the News Feed to acquire it. As you and everybody you know become less engaged with Facebook, and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been pushing a new initiative about Groups, the News Feed suddenly appearing like its time has come and gone.
In its aftermath? A greener strategy … and new enemies for Zuckerberg and Co. to contend with.
Watch has the chance to put Facebook somewhere it is missing (and where Netflix dominates)the living area. Facebook rolled out a program for Apple TV in February, which are available right alongside the apps such as Netflix, Amazon, and the rest of the techno-media giants, that are currently Facebook’s new enemy-combatants. Watch means Facebook currently has content for this.
Additionally, it sets them in position to grab an important marketplace that tech has struggled to attractbillions of dollars in TV advertising. If Facebook can grow Watch even without tentpole or “prestige” shows, there is a potential where its own TV-like audience together with its trove of consumer data makes for an irresistible combination to the individuals spending advertisers’ money.
That does not happen without people viewing stuff. And there is the rub: will Facebook attract it’s audience to Watch?
Facebook’s created a jump this large before, shooting its large desktop audience to mobile. However, in addition, this is a vastly different type of trick. Instead of just soliciting media companies to put their items on Facebook, they’re currently paying organizations to make original content and building a completely different experience for this. That is why they hired an outsider such as CollegeHumor’s Ricky Van Veen to conduct it.
In its heart, Watch is the admission by Facebook that they missed the mark on how individuals would spend time online. They thought it would be all mobile, all social, all the time. Truth is, folks still only begna sit down and watch something great on their sofa, in their living room, and sometimes on the go.
It’s also a major step away from Facebook’s “we are only a platform” headline, that has always been a huge part of the dogma (it has also helped them create a social network out of content that they did not need to compensate their spouses for producing). Facebook is now completely in the media industry of paying different businesses to make things exclusively for them. It’s the same matter Netflix has been doing with its initial content drive.
Success is, clearly, not guaranteed. Facebook’s history is littered with attempts to catch audiences in various waysthink mobile games and live video. It’s also Facebook’s first important attempt to commission its own contenta hard and expensive company. Facebook’s checks are still tiny in comparison with Netflix and Amazon, but Facebook has the cash to compete with the billions of dollars they’re shelling out.
And it looks like Amazon and Netflix will need to continue spending those billions, or else Facebook is going to begin eating into that limited amount of time every individual has in their own day. Sure, Facebook might seem like a new player in a big industry but just remember: Nobody thought they would use Amazon to get anything other than ordering novels, or Netflix for anything more than renting DVDs. Facebook’s currently taking their shot at getting part of that pattern, too. And you get to decide exactly how well they willor won’tfit into it.
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