Original video content is getting a new home at Facebook.
The social network's director of product Daniel Danker says that "watching video on Facebook has the incredible power to connect people, spark conversation, and foster community". Shows are made up of episodes - live or recorded - and follow a theme or storyline.
In typical Facebook fashion, only a small percentage of users will see the new Watch tab in the Facebook app immediately after it's officially unveiled on Thursday. It has a pinch of machine learning via dynamically curated sections like "Most Talked About" or "What's Making People Laugh". Watch will be limited to a select amount of users in the U.S.at first, and will continue to expand in the weeks ahead. A Watchlist feature lets you subscribe to updates on new episodes of your favorite shows. "It can be a chance to share an experience and bring people together who care about the same things", wrote Facebook CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg in a post.
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Eventually, the platform would be open to any show creator as a place to distribute video, the company said. For instance, it's unclear if you'll be able to find Facebook's original programming only in Watch or if you'll see third-party videos as well. It admits that "we've also funded some shows" as examples.
Reuters reported in May that Facebook had signed deals with millennial-focused news and entertainment creators Vox Media, BuzzFeed, ATTN, Group Nine Media and others to produce shows, both scripted and unscripted.
Facebook Inc.'s much-anticipated video product will be available beginning Thursday for some U.S. users, featuring short episodic series from content partners such as A&E, Major League Baseball and National Geographic.