Facebook Launches Video Platform, Watch

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Facebook Inc said on Wednesday that it plans to redesign how people watch videos on the world's largest social network and it announced plans for a slate of new exclusive shows covering subjects such as sports, travel and cooking.

Watch is organised into several different categories to make it easier for users to discover video content. The new Watch tab lets you follow video-makers, follow their pages so that you're alerted to new episodes, and build a queue of stuff you want to watch later. Facebook adds, "We'll be introducing Watch to a limited group of people in the USA and plan to bring the experience to more people soon". Facebook's approach bears more resemblance to YouTube than Netflix Inc. or Amazon given its focus on short-form videos created to be shared online.

At a time when the News Feed has already become a popular way of discovering serendipitous videos on Facebook, "Watch" with original shows will give users yet another strong reason to spend even longer time on the social networking site.

As it slowly transforms from a social network into a media company, Facebook Watch is the company's latest step into the latter.

Daniel Danker, a product director for video at Facebook, said the most successful shows will be the ones that get people interacting with each other.

Watch will be available via mobile, desktop and laptop, and Facebook's TV apps.

The shows on Watch will be episodes that could be live or recorded, some of which Facebook will pay for.

But Espelien wonders whether Facebook users will tap (or click) the Watch tab when with another tap of the finger they can "click over to Hulu or Netflix or whatever".

Facebook said the new service will be personalised, in order for users to view content based on their previous interests and activity. It was first launched as Video tab in the U.S. last year and this year gets its own moniker alongside shows too.

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and founder of Facebook said: 'Watching a show doesn't have to be passive.

"We think creating a show has a number of benefits, like the ability to reach a predictable and loyal audience", Facebook's Nick Grudin, VP of Media Partnerships, wrote of the plan. "What's making people laugh" section, for example, will contain videos that have many "ha ha" reactions and so on.

Facebook also has signed a deal with Major League Baseball that will allow Watch to broadcast one live game each week.