Facebook Watch, the video-on-demand offering of Facebook, has officially landed in Australia. The local media industry expressed their views about the social networking site’s service which most reckon as a potential dark horse to YouTube.
In the United States, Facebook Watch was introduced a year ago. It was developed to make a “video ecosystem” that was new and dissimilar to the mainstream streaming providers.
Fidji Simo, video executive at Facebook, remarked that the video-sharing service was not made to challenge the leading streaming juggernaut, Netflix.
As Facebook Watch starts to see the light of day in Australia, media firm heads expressed their perspectives about the new platform, advertising revenue strategies, and whether it was going to be a disruptor in the video content industry.
Positive insights were shared by Ryan Goldsworthy, director of Biddable, and Ryan Manning, the social media and SEO executive of Mediacom Australia.
They stressed that Facebook Watch is all about content made by “lower level” creators and not just about getting premium publishers.
Following the revenue model of YouTube, Goldsworthy noted that the new content-sharing service is a venue where premium content makers can share a “teaser” or a “tester” of their content. Viewers can then preview and comment about what they shared.
Patrick Whitnall, the content head of Publicis Media ANZ, on the other hand, expressed his doubts about Facebook Watch. He said that it would be unlikely that publishers would move their content to the fledgling video-on-demand platform.
He questioned why publishers would even consider employing the new platform, given they have already monetized and continue to monetize on their content in established platforms like YouTube. In addition, publishers have already built strong viewership base for quite some time on the said platform.
Brett Dawson, managing partner for the media agency, Bohemia Group, remarked that Facebook Watch has nothing new to offer.
He said that in the end, it would just be another content-sharing platform that cannot obtain serious interest from brands. Dawson pointed out that the social networking company should just concentrate on how it impacts society and not on the Watch platform.
Finally, for PHD Australia’s managing director, Mark Jarrett, relevance and keeping the audience’s interest are among the major issues which Facebook Watch has to contend with in Australia.
Referring to the fledgling platform’s experience in the United States of having millions on the first episode followed by declining viewership in the succeeding broadcasts, he is not confident that Facebook will be able to sustain an audience share for its long-format videos and programs.
Jarrett said that it would all boil down to whether Facebook Watch can help premium publishers in their content as they decide to invest in the platform significantly.
The fate of Facebook Watch in the Australian market is still undetermined as it has just launched and it is yet to be determined if the country would be a long-term wellspring of revenue for it.