Facebook is reportedly launching its Watch video streaming service in India between January and March next year, according to a new report from The Ken. The social-focused video service was announced in the United States last August to provide shows that encompass comedy, entertainment and lifestyle to Facebook users as part of the social networking giant’s growing video services push. Watch is considered as a part of Facebook’s efforts to advance its rivalry with YouTube and is intended to serve up a comprehensive selection of new content, though Facebook reiterates that the service is not meant to replace its existing video feature that is a main component of the social network’s News Feed.
According to the report, Watch will be available only to a small number of creators and viewers as the service is still undergoing developmental works. The feature can be opened by going to the “video” tab in Facebook’s mobile and desktop sites. Also, part of the service is the creation of a Facebook Page for each show so that followers of a specific show can have some sort of channel via which they can follow episodes. Shows can either be live or recorded earlier, depending on the creator’s choice. Like in YouTube, there will be a “Watchlist” through which viewers can subscribe to a certain show and receive updates about new episodes once available publicly. On top of that, new discovery features will also come with Watch to help viewers search for shows that may be interesting to them. Discoverability of specific videos depends on a number of factors including the popularity of a video, reactions from previous viewers, viewing history and general preference.
When Facebook launched Watch four months ago, it was also accessible only to a few users in the United States, with Facebook Director of Product Daniel Danker promising then to expand its availability to more people and territories in the future. If reports about Watch’s upcoming debut in India hold true, it will mark the first time that the video streaming solution will be coming to a non-US territory. This as Facebook sees India’s market as a key component of its growth and innovation strategies, according to a recent statement from the Menlo Park, California-based company’s Vice President for Mobile and Global Access Policy, Kevin Martin.