Facebook Watch Goes Global and Expands Advertising Capabilities

Facebook Watch, the social media platform’s video service, has gone global. Just over a year after its launch in the U.S., Watch video channels and social interactions will be available around the world.

Watch was accepted into the U.S. video on-demand community without much fanfare. The service airs star-studded shows such as Red Table Talk with actress Jada Pinkett Smith and Huda Boss with beauty mogul Huda Kattan, plus live Major League Baseball coverage. But according to a study by The Diffusion Group, 50% of adult Facebook users have never heard of Watch.

Still, Facebook claims more than 50 million American users view at least a minute of video on Watch every month, with viewing rates increasing. The company has launched services such as “Watch Party” so viewers can engage with friends while watching videos; an Interactivity Platform for polls, challenges, and quizzes; and a series of news programs in partnership with major news networks.

The service also updated its advertising guidelines with its global launch, allowing more content creators to include ad breaks and earn revenue from their videos. Ad breaks are now available to eligible content creators in the U.S., UK, Ireland, New Zealand, and Australia, Facebook announced. Creators in 22 more countries—including France, Germany, Mexico, and Spain—will gain ad break capabilities next month.

To be eligible to earn revenue through ad breaks (with 45% of earnings going to Facebook, BBC reports), content creators must have three-minute videos with more than 30,000 one-minute views in the past two months, as well as at least 10,000 Facebook followers.

Facebook Watch competes with video platforms such as Google’s YouTube and Amazon’s Twitch, but says it’s unique due to the social components of the service.

“It is built on the notion that watching video doesn’t have to be a passive experience,” Fidji Simo, Facebook’s vice-president of video, told BBC. “You can have a two-way conversation about the content with friends, other fans or even the creators themselves.”

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