It's not Netflix, it's not YouTube and it's not TV. But Watch, Facebook's new video app, certainly seeks to compete on the same turf as all of them, trying to lure viewers and ad dollars to its corner.
And now, it's a reality for all of its users in the US.
Because after weeks of trials with a limited number of users, Facebook began deploying its Watch tab for all US users. After an undefined time, it will roll the service out in the US.
But, what is Watch? It's the latest and most ambitious effort by Facebook in the video world, a space 100% devoted to original content from creators like Univision, A&E, BuzzFeed, Tastemade, ATTN and Condé Nast.
The company currently has "hundreds" of shows ready to offer and it expects the number to reach the thousands in the upcoming weeks.
This first lineup of shows have been commissioned specifically to the creators, either financing or buying the shows. But the plan is for it to become an open platform where everyone can participate.
Dan Rose, VP of Partnerships at Facebook, told Variety the idea behind financing these first shows is for everyone to see that platform's potential, and for that they needed to have the first contents ready.
"Until we have a large enough audience -so the advertising revenue can cover the cost of creative- we helped fund some of them, so people see something when they go to Watch. Also, we wanted to inspire creators for what we think will work well for this product, to show the larger ecosystem what’s possible," he said. "The idea is: Over time, this will be completely open. The teenager in her garage will be able to participate in this."
Advertising will precisely be Facebook's asset to lure creators, as it will sell ads and grant 55% to its creators.
This approach is similar to the one done by YouTube or Netflix, rather than TV. The main difference is the type of content it seeks to offer is longer and more focused on communities of fans, with live broadcasts, such as weekly MLB games.