Facebook announces 'Watch' video streaming platform, going head-to-head with YouTube

There will soon be one more streaming option for consumers.

Facebook is already on a lot of folks' daily internet stops to get their fill of memes and cat photos for the day. Soon, there will be one more reason to stop in. The company announced its Watch platform, and is hopeful that a staple of original programming will entice viewers.

The programming will be available to view on mobile devices, desktop and laptops and smart TVs — though Facebook didn't specify platforms at launch. Like YouTube, users can subscribe to their favorite channels on what's called a Watchlist (see what they did there?).

Facebook says:

We're introducing Watch, a new platform for shows on Facebook. Watch will be available on mobile, on desktop and laptop, and in our TV apps. Shows are made up of episodes — live or recorded — and follow a theme or storyline. To help you keep up with the shows you follow, Watch has a Watchlist so you never miss out on the latest episodes.

Watch is personalized to help you discover new shows, organized around what your friends and communities are watching. For example, you'll find sections like "Most Talked About," which highlights shows that spark conversation, "What's Making People Laugh," which includes shows where many people have used the "Haha" reaction, and "What Friends Are Watching," which helps you connect with friends about shows they too are following.

We've learned from Facebook Live that people's comments and reactions to a video are often as much a part of the experience as the video itself. So when you watch a show, you can see comments and connect with friends and other viewers while watching, or participate in a dedicated Facebook Group for the show.

It seems like Watch shows will blur the line between a live stream and a recorded program, which could make for interesting results. Having seen a few too many YouTube comment sections get out of hand, I'm curious to see Facebook will handle the inevitable moderation issues that come with hosting content.

Watch is set to launch with 40 original shows on August 28th. Are you going to tune in? Let us know in the comments below!



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