Facebook has announced the international launch of its Watch platform.
The tech giant revealed on a European press call with TVBEurope that it is also rolling out ad breaks as an open program to more countries around the world, starting with the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and the US this week.
More countries will be added in September including Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Sweden.
Watch was introduced in the US a year ago to give Facebook users a dedicated platform to find their favourite shows and video creators, and to start conversations with friends, other fans, and even creators themselves.
Facebook has been gradually updating the look and feel of Watch to make the experience more social, and making it easier to see which videos friends have liked or shared, creating shows that have audience participation at their core.
With Watch, users can find the latest videos spanning entertainment, sports, news and more all in a personalised Watch feed. At the top of the Watch feed is the Watchlist, a customisable collection of recent videos from pages a user follows. Users can also save videos from a news feed if they don’t have time to watch it right away.
Facebook’s head of video Fidji Simo made it clear that the platform aims to build new video experiences that put people at the centre, giving them the ability to shape the direction of the content and enabling them to find new video experiences in their Watch feed, like Watch Parties.“Facebook Watch is different because it is built on the notion that video doesn’t have to be a passive experience, and can instead connect you with others,” said Simo. “With Watch we have built an interactive experience that gives you a new level of access and influence. You don’t just watch videos on your own, you can have a two-way conversation about the content with friends, other fans or even the creators themselves. You are truly part of the action.”
"With the global rollout of Watch, we're excited to bring a new distribution platform to our partners around the world, and to help eligible creators and publishers make money from their videos with ad breaks," added head of content and strategy Matthew Henick.
More than 50 million people every month in the US view videos for at least a minute in Watch, and total time spent watching videos in Watch has increased by 14x since the start of 2018.
Watch is now available globally on iOS and Android, and can be found in a user’s shortcuts bar or the “More” bookmark. The service is also available on Apple TV, Samsung Smart TV, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Xbox One, and Oculus TV.