As Facebook ventures further into the video space with the launch of the Watch platform, Saurabh Doshi, director of entertainment partnerships for Asia-Pacific, Facebook, shares with APB the social media giant’s video strategies
Why did Facebook launch the Watch video platform, and what opportunities does Facebook Watch have to offer to the media and entertainment industry?
Saurabh Doshi: In recent years, video has seen tremendous growth on our platform, with our two billion members devouring more and more video content on Facebook. When we launched Watch in the US in 2017, it was aimed at giving people a place to discover and talk about their favourite videos with friends, family and like-minded fans.
Over the past year, we have learnt that people want a broader range of videos to browse, so we have expanded shows to bring a wide range of videos in. We have also updated Watch’s look and feel, making it easier to see what your friends are watching — and whether they have reacted, shared or commented — as we saw that people were really keen to discover content through their friends’ recommendations.
For the media and entertainment industry, we are seeing more two-way conversations between fans and creators. Red Table Talk starring Jada Pinkett Smith is a great example of this. Red Table Talk has really utilised the interactivity of Facebook to engage their community in conversion — talking directly to fans in the group, connecting in real time with live video, and using pools to let audiences vote on their favourite shows to watch in Watch Party.
The vision for Facebook video is not passive consumption; it is all about video viewing that ignites conversation and creates togetherness. 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 creators themselves — you are truly part of the action.
In the next few years, we expect a lot of our continued growth to come from video. In the US alone, every month, more than 50 million people come to watch videos for at least a minute in Facebook Watch — and total time spent watching videos in Facebook Watch has increased by 14 times since the start of 2018.
Through partnerships, media companies are able to garner a wider pool of content creators. Hence, what are some of Facebook’s strategies for content and talent acquisition in order to produce more compelling content to ultimately grow your audience?
Doshi: We have seen the Watch ecosystem take off globally, and will continue to evolve our funding strategy as it grows. Our funding strategy has always been about kick-starting an ecosystem of content — through funding shows and working with some great partners, we have been able to understand what our community enjoys, gather feedback and inspire others.
Long term, we have always been focused on creating a place where all creators and publishers can find an audience, build a community of passionate fans, and earn money for their work. In terms of funded content, we still see it as one of a spectrum of ways to bring quality content to Watch, and to test and learn about new video experiences.
We will continue investing in some original shows, and we will really lean into supporting a wide range of amazing video content from creators and publishers around the world — helping our partners find success with their videos, by reaching new audiences and engaging their existing fan bases in new ways.