Facebook Adds Original Video Section

Facebook is to host original video content in a new section of your newsfeed. Don’t expect any blockbusters though: it isn’t paying anything up front for content.

The new Watch tab on the site and app will host short form shows as well as the occasional live sporting event. The content will all be free to view, with the idea being to get users spending more time on the site.

Rather than paying licensing fees as the likes of Netflix do, Facebook is only offering video creators an ad revenue split, namely 55-45 in favour of the advertisers. While Facebook has funded some of the initial videos, this is solely to bulk out the launch content and likely won’t be done in future. The logic is that for Netflix, adding new subscribers is key, so it’s worth paying to create content. With Facebook, in most major markets the emphasis is now on increasing engagement (and thus revenue) among existing users.

The list of launch content isn’t exactly overwhelming and is largely the type of short documentary and instructional video you’d associate with YouTube rather than drama or comedy. A couple of somewhat original premises include a reality game show “where couples face their fears and see who runs” which appears to have been created solely to fit the title Bae or Bail, along with Kitchen Little in which “kids watch a how-to recipe video, then instruct a pro chef how to make the dish with comedic results.”

As you’d expect from a social media site, there’ll be the option to live chat during a show as well as joining dedicated fan groups. There’ll also be notification features for new episodes and a traditional browsable shows listing.

The tab will launch as a test for around one percent of US users before later rolling out to the public.

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