Facebook Watch hasn't quite become the essential TV alternative that Facebook is hoping to build just yet, but its viewer numbers are rising, and its slowly working out ways to maximize attention, and lure more viewers across to its dedicated video content platform.
Its latest focus in this respect is European audiences, with new programs and ad options designed to attract publishers and advertisers, and further promote the option in the region.
Last month, Facebook announced a new set of funded partnerships with established European news publishers to have them create dedicated Facebook Watch content. And this week, Facebook has announced a new push, which will see it partner publishers and celebrities to create new Watch programs.
As per Facebook:
"We want Watch to be a place where anyone, anywhere, can find the videos they care about. And as video continues to find prominence on social media, we want to further our work with publishers and help them reach more people, engage their audiences more deeply, and build sustainable businesses. One way we are doing that is by rolling out a new initiative where we pair digital publishers with beloved creators and public figures who have established communities on Facebook. As an initial test in Europe, the idea is to take the creativity and savvy of digital-publishers who make great content and couple it with celebrities, influencers or personalities that have built up their own, thriving fan bases."
It's essentially influencer marketing on a broader scale - Facebook, seeing the success of celebrity-led programming like 'Sorry for Your Loss' with Elizabeth Olsen, 'Red Table Talk' with Jada Pinkett Smith, and 'Ball in the Family' with NBA star Lonzo Ball, is now looking to introduce similar, celebrity-helmed programs in other regions to maximize interest in Watch programming.
Facebook says that it will initially fund its new set of collaborations between celebrities and publishers in the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy.
Among these new Watch programs will be:
- Date Fails’ with Conor Maynard. A dating-meets-cooking format, which sees Conor Maynard help individuals find love through food. Weekly 4-6 minute episodes.
- Ek is back’ with Eko Fresh. With twenty years in the rap business, Eko Fresh sits down with old industry companions and reminisce over old times. Weekly 4 minute episodes.
- ‘Kim‘s Famous 5’ with Kim Gloss. Kim Gloss hosts a weekly top 5 ranking of celebrity posts that amazed the community, joined by on-the-sofa guests. Weekly 4 minute episodes.
- ‘Menú a 20’ with La Pelo. Influencers and celebrities participate in kitchen-based challenges with limited time, limited budget and limited ingredients, hosted by La Pelo. Weekly 4 minute episodes.
The new partnerships with these local celebrities will help to spark interest in Watch, which, in combination with the aforementioned new news programming, and other content, Facebook will be hoping will keep viewers engaged, and help it build momentum for the option.
As noted, Facebook Watch still has a way to go to establish itself, but it is growing. According to most recent reports, 720 million people tune into Watch programs monthly, and 140 million people spend at least one minute on Watch daily. On average, daily Watch visitors spend more than 26 minutes on the platform.
At Facebook's scale, serving 2.4 billion users per month, those are still relatively small numbers, but Facebook can still make Watch a bigger consideration, and take a larger chunk of the video advertising pie. If it can provide relevant content and revenue models, and if it can give people more reason to switch to Watch instead of, say, Netflix or Disney's coming streaming service.
It's a big challenge, but clearly Facebook's not looking to ease back on its commitment to making Watch work just yet.