Facebook Watch, the rival to YouTube that the social network launched in the US a year ago, is now available in the rest of the world. Watch exists as a personalised video feed on Facebook and is designed to be a social experience, with users able to see comments other people are making on a show.
“We're excited to announce that we're making Facebook Watch available everywhere, giving people in Asia Pacific a new way to discover great videos and interact with friends, creators, and other fans,” said Saurabh Doshi, director of entertainment partnerships for Asia-Pacific in an emailed statement.
Doshi noted expanding Watch’s availability would create new opportunities for creators and publishers in the region, but noted Facebook “still had work to do.” No Asia-Pacific-specific funded content was announced for the launch. Instead, the global announcement highlighted the popularity in the US of shows such as Red Table Talk with Jada Pinkett Smith and Huda Boss by beauty mogul Huda Kattan.
But all Page videos are available to be published on Watch and Facebook says its focus will remain on video experiences that connect people. As examples, Facebook pointed out creators from Asia like Ms Yeah with over 3.5 million likes and 4.2 million followers, or How to Dad from New Zealand who has built a community of 1.8 million followers.
While Watch has struggled to gain traction with viewers since its US launch, Facebook head of video Fidji Simon said in a blog announcing the move that the total time spent watching videos in Watch has increased fourteen-fold since the start of 2018.
Ad Breaks program expands
In a related post on Facebook’s media blog, product management directors Maria Smith and Paresh Rajwat announced that with the global launch of Watch, Facebook is expanding its Ad Breaks program to more global markets. Australia and New Zealand are now part of the program, and Thailand is included among countries slated for a September rollout, with more markets set to join in the coming months.
Ad Breaks currently takes a 45% cut of ad revenues and give the rest to video publishers. Pages can join the Ad Breaks program if they have been creating three-minute videos with more than 30,000 one-minute views in total over the past two months, have 10,000 followers and meet other monetisation criteria.
Ad formats include mid-roll and pre-roll formats along with image ads directly below videos. Ad placement can be self-selected or auto-inserted where Facebook automatically selects the best placement for ads. The social platform claims 70% of its mid-roll ads are viewed to completion.
Video performance and monetisation can be monitored through Facebook's Creator Studio which now will also be expanded globally.
Daniel Farey-Jones contributed to this report from Campaign UK. This article has been updated to include a response from Facebook about APAC-specific video content.