FB ex­pands video of­fer­ings to com­pete in TV mar­ket

New Straits Times - - World -

SAN FRAN­CISCO: Face­book Inc made its big­gest move to com­pete in the tele­vi­sion mar­ket by ex­pand­ing its video of­fer­ings with pro­gram­ming rang­ing from pro­fes­sional women’s bas­ket­ball to a sa­fari show and a par­ent­ing pro­gramme.

The re­designed prod­uct, called “Watch”, will be avail­able ini­tially to a lim­ited group in the United States on Face­book’s mo­bile app, web­site and tele­vi­sion apps, the com­pany said.

The world’s largest so­cial net­work added a video tab last year, and dropped hints for months that it wanted to be­come a source of orig­i­nal and well-pro­duced videos, rather than just shows made by users.

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, scripted and un­scripted.

“We’ve learned that peo­ple like the serendip­ity of dis­cov­er­ing videos in News Feed, but want a ded­i­cated place they can go to watch videos,” Daniel Danker, Face­book’s prod­uct direc­tor, said on Wed­nes­day.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive Mark Zucker­berg said Watch would al­low users to “chat and con­nect with peo­ple dur­ing an episode, and join groups with peo­ple who like the same shows to build com­mu­nity”.

Face­book said the shows would in­clude videos of the Women’s Na­tional Bas­ket­ball As­so­ci­a­tion, a par­ent­ing show from Time Inc and a sa­fari show from Na­tional Ge­o­graphic. Face­book was broad­cast­ing Ma­jor League Base­ball games, the com­pany said.

ATTN said on Wed­nes­day it had two orig­i­nal se­ries com­ing to Face­book Watch: a health pro­gramme with ac­tress Jes­sica Alba and a re­la­tion­ship ad­vice show. Even­tu­ally, the plat­form would be open to any show cre­ator as a place to dis­trib­ute video, Face­book said.

The com­pany, based in Menlo Park, Cal­i­for­nia, faced a crowded mar­ket with not only tra­di­tional tele­vi­sion net­works but newer pro­duc­ers, such as Netflix Inc and Al­pha­bet Inc’s YouTube as well as Twit­ter Inc and Snap Inc. Reuters

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