Facebook Doesn't Want "Passive" Watch Shows: Report

Facebook isn't interested in funding "passive" shows that seek to deliver a traditional viewing experience akin to conventional television programming, Business Insider reported Wednesday, citing one content creator contributing to the company's Watch platform. Following the launch of the service in August, the firm greenlit a variety of shows, with most of them now having concluded their first seasons, leaving the firm with the decision on whether to renew or cancel them. The social media giant isn't prioritizing raw viewership numbers while reviewing its shows that are up for renewal, insiders claim, adding that the company is instead looking for programming that exhibits signs of having a significant following, i.e. viewers who continue coming back to the Watch platform in order to look for new installments in their favorite series.

That strategy is in line with Facebook's general plans for Watch which the company has been positioning as a YouTube competitor since its beginning, seeking to attract an audience willing to keep coming back to the platform just to check what's new. Besides traditional fandom indicators, Facebook is also said to be insisting content creators focus on making their shows more interactive by engaging with their audience, asking them for suggestions on their future content and encouraging them to react to their existing programming. "We Need to Talk" starring Laura Perlongo and Nev Schulman is one such show that recently got renewed for a second season and had its budget increased by an undisclosed amount, having managed to promote the kind of "meaningful interactions" Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently said the company will be aiming to create going forward.

Watch is the culmination of the major video push Facebook has been pursuing for several years now and is being positioned as a platform the company is planning to support in the long term. Facebook itself is seeking to diversify its operations and possibly even establish a major product ecosystem, as suggested by recent reports claiming the firm is preparing to launch a pair of screen-equipped smart speakers this summer. The Menlo Park, California-based social media giant is still enjoying historic growth, having recorded over $40.5 billion in revenue over the course of 2017.

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