Sometimes I get the urge of going out on a limb and predict that a certain tool will be a fantastic addition to the Public relations tool box. Facebook TV has great potential for all PR pros because of its focus on catering to communities and fan base. I think of it as semi-passive video viewing. Done well, this will enable a deeper and richer interaction with a community.
Today Facebook is introducing Watch, a new platform for shows on Facebook. Watch will be available on mobile, on desktop and laptop, and in Facebook’s TV apps. Shows are made up of episodes — live or recorded — and follow a theme or storyline. To help 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.
Facebook has learned from 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 someone watches a show, one can see comments and connect with friends and other viewers while watching, or participate in a dedicated Facebook Group for the show.
A Platform for Shows
Watch is a platform for all creators and publishers to find an audience, build a community of passionate fans, and earn money for their work. Facebook thinks a wide variety of Facebook shows can be successful, particularly:
- Shows that engage fans and community. Nas Daily publishes a daily show where he makes videos together with his fans from around the world. The Watchlist makes it easy for fans to catch every day’s new episode.
- Live shows that connect directly with fans. Gabby Bernstein, a New York Times bestselling author, motivational speaker, and life coach, uses a combination of recorded and live episodes to connect with her fans and answer questions in real time.
- Shows that follow a narrative arc or have a consistent theme. Tastemade’s Kitchen Little is a funny show about kids who watch a how-to video of a recipe, then instruct professional chefs on how to make it. Each episode features a new child, a new chef, and a new recipe. Unsurprisingly, the food doesn’t always turn out as expected.
- Live events that bring communities together. Major League Baseball is broadcasting a game a week on Facebook, enabling people to watch live baseball while connecting with friends and fellow fans on the platform.
Watch will be home to a wide range of shows, from reality to comedy to live sports. To help inspire creators and seed the ecosystem, Facebook also funded some shows that are examples of community-oriented and episodic video series. For example, Returning the Favor is a series hosted by Mike Rowe where he finds people doing something extraordinary for their community, tells the world about it, and in turn does something extraordinary for them. Candidates are nominated by Mike’s fans on Facebook.
Facebook is excited to see how creators and publishers will use shows to connect with their fans and community. You can learn more about making shows on our Media blog.
At the beginning, Watch will be available to a limited group of people in the U.S. and plans are to bring the experience to more people soon. Similarly, Shows will be opened up to a limited group of creators and plan to roll out to all soon.