…but only a third of publisher-funded shows are being renewed. We take a look at the latest update from Facebook Watch.

Facebook has released updated viewing figures for Watch, its video-on-demand streaming service which rolled out worldwide in August last year.

Watch now has 140 million daily viewers – people who spend at least one minute in Watch – according to the tech giant, with more than 720 million people tuning in monthly.

Those figures are almost double the 75 million users reported in December 2018. Average time spent on videos in Watch has also increased, from 20 minutes daily in December, to 26 minutes.

Facebook credits its original shows like Jada Pinkett Smith’s “Red Table Talk” and Elizabeth Olsen’s “Sorry for Your Loss” for keeping the momentum going. But as with all figures the company releases, they haven’t been independently verified, and there isn’t enough information given to work out how much of a consistent audience is being built.

There are also question marks over Facebook’s measure of ‘engagement’. Facebook defines an engaged viewer as one who has spent at least 60 seconds with Watch per month or day, but according to Axios, those 60 seconds don’t need to be consecutive. And with autoplay still enabled on most people’s News Feeds, it’s difficult to say how many of those seconds are from people stopping to actually watch content, rather than just scrolling past.

Facebook have also announced that they are launching a number of new news shows, and based on what has been doing well over the past few months, renewing funding for existing shows. But of the 21 news partners originally funded, only around a third of them have had the shows renewed, including ABC News, Univision, BuzzFeed News, Business Insider, Fox News and more.

The company is introducing a group feature to Watch, where viewers can find groups based on the videos they’re watching. This seems to be based on people wanting to discuss shows as they’re watching them with people being more than 8 times more likely to comment when watching with friends, which is why Facebook are also experimenting heavily with ‘Watch Parties’ and other co-watching experiences.

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