|· Original content featuring popular celebrities and influencers|
· Simple to share shows socially with friends through Facebook
· The service is free to watch
|· Relatively small library of content|
· Lacks the high-quality dramas of other streaming services
· Requires a Facebook account to watch the service
Social media giant Facebook made its first move into the busy market of services aimed at people cutting the cable TV cord with the launch of Facebook Watch in August 2017. The on-demand video service provides original content that’s designed to be shareable with friends and family. As of 2019, more than 140 million people use the service daily, according to Facebook.
The service is available directly through the Facebook platform and is organized into four distinct sections. The Home tab enables people to watch videos from pages that they follow as well as content the social network recommends to them. The Shows tab is where Facebook Watch content is held. And live mode enables users to see videos of what’s happening all over the world and watch gaming streams. Subscribers can find saved content under the Saved Videos tab.
What To Watch On Facebook Watch
On-demand Facebook Watch TV shows are updated on a regular basis. Users won’t get the breadth of movies and shows available through paid-for rivals like Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and Netflix, but Facebook Watch nevertheless offers a range of varied content.
The service features several original dramas, including Sacred Lies, which focuses on a teenager missing both her hands who escapes from a cult and gets sent to a youth correctional facility. Other original programs include teen drama Five High Points and SKAM Austin. Viewers can also enjoy Human Discoveries, an animated show that features Zac Efron and created by the same production company as the popular Netflix show BoJack Horseman.
Facebook Watch features plenty of reality TV content such as Bear Grylls: Face The Wild, an exclusive adventure series presented by British survival expert Bear Grylls and Big Chicken Shaq, which follows basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal’s attempts to open a takeaway chicken store. It’s also home to Will Smith’s Bucket List, which follows the Hollywood star on his quest to overcome his fears in a variety of challenges around the world.
Facebook Watch also includes documentaries like USA vs. Chapo, a five-part series that explores Mexican drug lord Joaquin Guzman’s rise to infamy and how US law enforcement caught him. It’s also home to Curse of Akakor, a series that sees six investigators go in search of an ancient city of gold that has seen previous explorers mysteriously disappear.
Soccer fans can get unrivaled behind-the-scenes access to Real Madrid, one of the world’s biggest and famous teams, in the eight-episode series Hala Madrid. While sports fans may generally enjoy I Am More: OBJ, which follows wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.’s preparation for NFL games and Risky Biz, which explores people competing in contests and taking part in wild challenges for money.
Free To Watch
A key differentiator between Facebook Watch and other on-demand video services is that it’s free to watch. Instead of having paid subscribers, Facebook aims to make a profit by showing ads before and during content and through social shares.
The fact that it’s free makes Facebook easy to pick up and watch whenever users want to. It’s easily accessible for anyone who already has a Facebook account, and it’s simple to find and follow interesting content. And, furthermore, there’s no contract binding them to the service for a specific period.
Wide Device Compatibility
Facebook Watch is available on any device via which users would normally access the social network site. This includes the Facebook app for Android and Apple iOS devices, as well as Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV and smart TVs that provide access to the Facebook Watch app. With the relevant client downloaded, users simply need to sign into their existing Facebook account, or create a new one, to start watching the service.
Facebook Watch viewers can access HD content, which Facebook defines as 1080p 60fps, but only by joining the social network’s Level Up Program. This requires having a gaming video creator page with more than 100 followers and regularly streaming content. Otherwise, viewers are limited to 720p 30fps streaming.
Original Content That Drives Discussion
The core concept of Facebook Watch is to get people talking about content and to encourage them to share it with friends and family. To do that, Facebook Watch has commissioned original content presented by popular celebrities and public figures that will appeal to users.
One tactic that Facebook Watch uses to drive user engagement is additional content on top of the shows themselves. For example, Curse of Akakor features extras like Q&A sessions with the show’s focal characters that are ideal for social interaction and sharing.
Viewers can also get social by hosting or joining a Watch Party, which enables them to view shows on the service with friends.
Facebook Watch has successfully recruited popular celebrities and influencers to front its content. For example, following Shaquille O’Neal’s endeavors in opening a chicken shop is a surefire way to gain interest and followers. Other celebrities who regularly appear in the service’s content include survival expert Bear Grylls, comedian Nicole Byer and American football players Odell Beckham Jr. and Von Miller.
Can I Cut the Cable TV Cord With Facebook Watch
Facebook Watch doesn’t contain the volume of high-quality content that cord-cutters will be accustomed to with popular paid-for video streaming services. However, the free-to-watch service does provide a solid range of content that will appeal to a wide audience. It bundles several reality TV shows and a handful of original dramas in with action, adventure, documentary and sports content.
The key appeal of Facebook Watch is that it offers original content that isn’t available elsewhere and is simple to access through a Facebook account. Its small content library has content featuring celebrities and influencers, which makes the service attractive to users. And of course, since it’s Facebook, users can easily share content they enjoy and even watch shows and videos with friends and family. The service is probably not a realistic standalone option for cutting the cable TV cord — but it’s a solid free supplement to paid-for streaming services such as Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and Netflix. And there’s no obligation to sign up and no risk of being tied into a long-term contract.
Current as of May 2020*
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