Facebook’s video streaming platform has officially launched in Australia, offering original entertainment, news and sports content.
Facebook Watch was made available in the US from August last year, and has now launched globally a year later.
The video service is accessible via a new tab on Facebook, and offers a feed of videos from friends and content creators, along with recommendations and customisable lists.
Users will be presented with a personalised video-only version of the Facebook timeline through the service, and will be able to save a video from the NewsFeed to view later in Watch.
In a post announcing the global launch, Facebook head of video Fidji Simo said the platform is about making video a social experience.
“We launched Watch in the US a year ago to give people a place on Facebook to find shows and video creators they love and to start conversations with friends, other fans and even creators themselves,” Simo said.
Recent updates for the platform include making it easier to see videos that have been liked or shared by friends; shows can have audience participation as a central component; and the platform has been opened to all pages on Facebook.
“We’re building new video experiences that put people at the centre, giving them the ability to shape the direction of the content,” Simo said.
“Over time you’ll be able to find new video experiences in your Watch feed, like Watch Parties, premieres and videos focused on audience participation – like the new trivia game show, Confetti. And we’ll make it easier to find live videos so you can discuss the big moments as they’re happening.”
The video service has put Facebook in direct competition with Google parent company Alphabet’s YouTube service.
The company has said that more than 50 million people in the US have watched videos for at least one minute on the platform, and that the total time spent watching videos has increased by 14 times since the start of this year.
Video makers in Australia will also be able to use Ad Breaks to monetise their content through Facebook Watch.
To do so, a publisher will have to have three-minute videos with more than 30,000 one minute views in the past two months, and have at least 10,000 followers.
Revenue from the advertising will be split 55-45 percent in favour of the publisher.
Simo said this offers publishers a way to make “meaningful revenues.”
“We know it’s a long road but we’ve worked hard to ensure that the Ad Breaks experience is a good one for both our partners and our community,” she said.
Facebook Watch also reportedly has a budget of US$1 billion in 2018 for the creation of original content.
Shows on the platform already include digital news offerings from the likes of CNN and Fox News, with Facebook also looking to compete with on-demanding streaming giants like Netflix.
Flagship original shows on Watch include Jada Pinkett Smith’s Red Table Talk, Huda Kattan’s Huda Boss and live baseball games in the US.
There is yet to be any news of possible original Australian content to be featured on Facebook Watch.