Facebook's YouTube Rival Off To A Shaky Start: Report

Facebook's YouTube rival Watch is off to a shaky start, having largely disappointed over its first year of commercial availability in terms of user acquisition and engagement, as well as its monetization practices, The Information reports, citing sources close to the Menlo Park, California-based social media giant. A number of the firm's media partners opted to cease their support for Watch in recent weeks, having ended up disillusioned about their prospects on the platform, insiders claim. Lower-than-expected viewership resulted in underwhelming revenues, the main reason video creators are now said to be giving up on Watch, as per the same report.

The world's largest social media network already started addressing some issues with its flagship video product, having e.g. limited the availability of pre-roll ads, a monetization mechanism that's said to have alienated viewers the most so far. Instead of showing up to everyone, such advertising will now only be displayed prior to videos users specifically searched for instead of anything they stumbled upon using other means. Facebook also resolved to improve its Watch analytics so that its partners gain better insights into their audiences, primarily with the goal of optimizing their offerings moving forward.

In a bid to improve user engagement rates, Facebook became more picky about the type of content it funds in recent times, having reportedly decided not to renew some "passive" shows and instead opted to finance those that encourage their audience to interact with their creators, whether with content ideas or more general feedback. Some producers are also said to have become skeptical of Facebook's video initiative starting late last year after the company started signaling it's more interested in outright acquiring successful shows instead of subsidizing them, with many of them not being willing to agree to such deals. While low turnover isn't an alarming signal for Facebook itself given how Watch accounts for a negligible portion of its total revenues, the platform's slow start is becoming more likely to alienate video creators and significantly weaker Facebook's efforts to prioritize quality content on the service. For the time being, the company is still primarily interested in using Watch to improve user engagement rates on Facebook, thus offsetting the effects of its anti-misinformation efforts which purged people's News Feeds from the majority of content that previously kept them browsing the social network for over an hour per day.

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Dominik Bosnjak

Head Editor
Dominik started at AndroidHeadlines in 2016 and is the Head Editor of the site today. He’s approaching his first full decade in the media industry, with his background being primarily in technology, gaming, and entertainment. These days, his focus is more on the political side of the tech game, as well as data privacy issues, with him looking at both of those through the prism of Android. Contact him at [email protected]
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