Facebook said the show pages would also provide a way for dedicated fans to interact with the shows’ creators beyond merely watching the episodes.
“More and more people are coming to Facebook with the intention of watching videos,” said Fidji Simo, who leads Facebook’s video efforts. “This is the next step.”
To encourage more people to create shows for Watch, Facebook said it would expand its video advertisement monetization program, which shares revenue from commercials that appear during videos. Facebook has limited the number of content creators who can take advantage of the program during a testing phase.
Many Facebook users see videos only as they scroll past a friend’s wedding photos or a cousin’s political rant, unlike YouTube users who visit that site for the purpose of watching videos. As advertising dollars earmarked for television move online, Facebook is seeking a way to coax its huge audience — two billion users monthly — to see it as a destination for video.
YouTube has said its mobile viewers watch videos for more than an hour a day on average. Facebook has not disclosed the time its users spend viewing, but it is expected to be much less. The Watch initiative could change that; Facebook said it expects the videos within Watch to be longer than the videos users find in their Newsfeeds.
The shows that will appear in Watch are a mix of videos that are already popular on Facebook — like “Nas Daily,” a series that chronicles the travels of a social media star around the world — and original programs funded by Facebook.
Among the shows Facebook is paying for are “Returning the Favor,” a show about inspiring people starring Mike Rowe, who was the host of “Dirty Jobs.”
Watch will also feature live programming, including one Major League Baseball game a week.
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