Facebook Watch video: Social network makes major move with original shows taking on TV, Netflix and YouTube

Lynsey Barber
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Facebook is making a major move into original video content (Source: Getty)

A new and powerful contingent has entered the content wars and it's likely to inspire fear among broadcasters and tech companies alike.

Facebook has launched a new platform dedicated to TV-like video content called Watch and it will feature "shows are made up of episodes - live or recorded - and follow a theme or storyline".

The service will be slowly rolled out to users and those who want to create content for it - both individuals and publishers. Content will include things like daily vlogs, cooking shows, reality TV and comedy series'.

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Watch takes on both new and old media - from traditional TV, to Netflix and YouTube. They're likely to be concerned about Facebook's sheer monster-sized scale: it has two billion monthly active users.

The move is Facebook's latest push into video after the launch of Facebook Live. But its shift from the news feed into a separate area brings with it a greater focus on curated high-end content.

High profile names signed up to produce shows for Watch include A&E Networks, Hearst Magazines, Univision, National Geographic and Time Inc.

Watch will also be the home for the sports content it's acquired the rights to, such as Major League Baseball. The Premier League has indicated it would be open to bidding from tech giants such as Facebook and Amazon for the rights to broadcast football matches.

Facebook is keen to promote Watch as an additional feature of its "community", and will use its famous algorithms to show you what your friends are watching and to suggest new shows, as well as having room to comment on shows (with words or emojis).

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"We hope Watch will be home to a wide range of shows -- from reality to comedy to live sports," said Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg.

"Some will be made by professional creators, and others from regular people in our community. We're starting to roll out the Watch tab to a limited number of people in the US, and the plan is to bring it to more people soon. I hope you enjoy!"

What is Facebook Watch?

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