Facebook Watch

Facebook Watch
Type of site
Available in English
Area served Worldwide
Key people
  • Ricky Van Veen (Head of Global Creative Strategy)
  • Mina Lefevre (Head of Development)
  • Fidji Simo (VP of Product for Video)
Industry Internet
Parent Facebook
Website www.facebook.com/watch/
Commercial Yes
Launched August 10, 2017 (2017-08-10)
Current status Active

Facebook Watch is a video-on-demand service operated by Facebook. It was announced on August 9, 2017, with initial availability the day after, and with rollout to all U.S. users by the end of the month. Facebook Watch's original video content is produced for the company by partners, who earn 55% of advertising revenue while Facebook keeps 45%.

Facebook Watch offers personalized recommendations for videos to watch, as well as categorized content bundles depending on factors such as popularity and social media engagement. Facebook wants both short-form and long-form entertainment on its platform, having a reported total of $1 billion in budget for content through 2018. Facebook monetizes videos through mid-roll advertising breaks, and plans to test pre-roll advertising in 2018. On August 30, 2018, Facebook Watch became available internationally to all users of the social network worldwide.


Facebook announced "Facebook Watch", its own video on demand service, on August 9, 2017. The day after, it was launched for a small group of U.S. users,[1][2] with a rollout to all U.S. users beginning at the end of August.[3]

In May and June 2018, Facebook launched around six news programs from partners including BuzzFeed, Vox, CNN, and Fox News. These programs, developed by Facebook's head of news partnerships Campbell Brown, reportedly have an overall budget of $90 million dollars.[4]

On July 25, 2018, Facebook gave their first presentation ever at the annual Television Critics Association's annual summer press tour. During Facebook's allotted time, Fidji Simo, the Vice President of Product for Video, and Ricky Van Veen, the Head of Global Creative Strategy, showcased Facebook's continuing ramp-up of original programming on Facebook Watch.[5] On August 30, 2018, Facebook Watch became available internationally to all users of the social network worldwide.[6]

Budgets and monetization

Content budgets

For short-form videos, Facebook originally had a budget of roughly $10,000-$40,000 per episode,[7] though renewal contracts have placed the budget in the $50,000-$70,000-range.[8] Long-form TV-length series have budgets between $250,000 to over $1 million.[8] The Wall Street Journal reported in September 2017 that the company was willing to spend up to $1 billion on original video content through 2018.[9][10]


Facebook keeps 45% of ad-break revenue for content shown on Facebook Watch, while its content-producing partners receive 55% of ad revenue.[1] In January 2017, the company announced that it would be adding "mid-roll" advertising to its videos, in which ads will appear in videos after users have watched at least 20 seconds.[11] In December 2017, Ad Age reported that Facebook was lifting a long-time ban on "pre-roll" ads, an advertising format that shows promotional content before users start the actual video. Facebook had resisted using pre-roll ads because the format has a "reputation for annoying viewers" who want to get to the desired content, though the report stated that the company would nevertheless try the format. Steve Ellis, CEO of WhoSay, a social influencer marketing company, told Ad Age that "YouTube already established that people will sit through and tolerate pre-roll" and that "It's proven that they haven't sent consumers fleeing, so it makes sense that Facebook would pursue a similar strategy as it builds out its original content experience".[12] Two weeks after Ad Age's report, Facebook updated its blog to note that the pre-roll advertising format would begin testing in 2018, and that there were going to be changes to mid-roll ads; specifically, they cannot appear until a minute into a video, and are only available for videos that run for at least three minutes, as opposed to the original rule of appearing after 20 seconds on videos potentially as short as 90 seconds.[13][14]


In the Watch tab, Facebook offers personalized recommendations of videos to watch as well as categories of bundled video content, including "Most Talked About", "What’s Making People Laugh", and "Shows Your Friends Are Watching".[1]


Morgan Stanley analyst Brian Nowak estimates that "Facebook Watch" can bring in $565 million in revenue to Facebook by the end of 2018.[15] Jefferies analyst Brent Thill has predicted that the service has the potential to earn $12 billion in revenue by 2022.[16]


On March 23, 2018, Facebook Watch earned its first Daytime Emmy Awards nominations at the 45th Daytime Emmy Awards. The streaming service's cooking and travel series Mind of a Chef earned a total of 3 nominations.[17]

See also


  1. 1 2 3 Constine, Josh (August 9, 2017). "Facebook launches Watch tab of original video shows". TechCrunch. Oath Inc. Retrieved December 15, 2017.
  2. Newton, Casey (August 9, 2017). "Facebook introduces Watch, its redesigned tab for video programming". The Verge. Vox Media. Retrieved December 15, 2017.
  3. Hatmaker, Taylor (August 31, 2017). "Facebook's new Watch video hub rolls out to U.S. users". TechCrunch. Oath Inc. Retrieved December 15, 2017.
  4. Bowles, Nellie (April 21, 2018). "Is Facebook's Campbell Brown a Force to Be Reckoned With? Or Is She Fake News?". The New York Times. Retrieved May 21, 2018.
  5. Team, The Deadline (July 9, 2018). "Facebook Braces For Hero's Welcome As Streamers Return – TCA Preview". Deadline. Retrieved July 10, 2018.
  6. Mitchell, Robert (August 29, 2018). "Facebook Watch Rolls Out Internationally". Variety. Retrieved August 30, 2018.
  7. Patel, Sahil (May 25, 2017). "Facebook recruits its top publishers for exclusive shows". Digiday. Retrieved December 15, 2017.
  8. 1 2 Patel, Sahil (November 30, 2017). "Bigger budgets, fewer shows: Facebook's deals for Watch are changing". Digiday. Retrieved December 15, 2017.
  9. Seetharaman, Deepa (September 8, 2017). "Facebook Is Willing to Spend Big in Video Push". The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company. Retrieved December 15, 2017.
  10. Krishna, Swapna (September 8, 2017). "Facebook may spend $1 billion on original video in 2018". Engadget. Oath Inc. Retrieved December 15, 2017.
  11. Kafka, Peter (January 9, 2017). "Facebook is going to start showing ads in the middle of its videos and sharing the money with publishers". Recode. Vox Media. Retrieved December 15, 2017.
  12. Sloane, Garett (December 1, 2017). "Facebook to lift longtime ban on pre-roll ads". Advertising Age. Crain Communications. Retrieved December 15, 2017.
  13. Kafka, Peter (December 14, 2017). "Here come the Facebook pre-roll video ads". Recode. Vox Media. Retrieved December 15, 2017.
  14. Fingas, Jon (December 14, 2017). "Facebook will try running ads in front of Watch videos". Engadget. Oath Inc. Retrieved December 15, 2017.
  15. Balakrishnan, Anita (December 1, 2017). "You know that new 'Watch' video tab on Facebook? Here's how the company will make money off it, analyst says". CNBC. NBCUniversal News Group. Retrieved December 15, 2017.
  16. Kim, Tae (December 20, 2017). "Buy Facebook because its video offering will be a blockbuster success, analyst says". CNBC. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
  17. Fuhrmeister, Chris (March 29, 2018). "'Mind of a Chef' and 'A Chef's Life' Lead Food TV Emmy Nominations". Eater. Retrieved March 23, 2018.
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