Tech

Facebook has launched a new feature to kill off TV and Netflix

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Dave Fawbert
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Facebook really is a voracious beast isn’t it? Not content with hoovering up all of your spare time, as you idly flick your way through chuckling at dog videos, ‘hilarious’ fails of people breaking their necks on BMXs and enjoying the sweet, sweet content provided by ShortList.com, it now wants MORE, MORE, MORE.

It’s gunning for the time that you currently spent watching TV – and it’s launched a new feature to do just that.

It’s called ‘Watch’ and will enable users to discover videos from outside of their feed, create ‘watchlists’ and provide an easier way to watch and follow shows made by artists, brands and publishers.

Most videos you currently watch on Facebook are of the shorter variety – often 30 seconds, maybe a couple of minutes tops – but Facebook wants you to watch longer form content, in order to keep you on the site longer and make more money out of you connect the world better.

It’s already dropped a load of cash on funding some original “community-oriented” shows, in order to “help inspire creators and seed the ecosystem” – in other words, to show potential content creators how it’s done. People who make original video content exclusively for Facebook will earn 55% of the revenue generated by ad breaks in the programs.

Watch will replace the Videos tab in the Facebook mobile app and will also appear on the desktop version and on Facebook’s TV apps.

It will organise videos into sections such as “what’s making people laugh” (which it decides by the number of “haha” emojis a show is attracting), as well as things like “most talked about”. As ever, it will be personalised so that you see what your friends are watching and reacting to.

"Watching a show doesn't have to be passive," said the company's founder Mark Zuckerberg in a Facebook post. "It can be a chance to share an experience and bring people together who care about the same things."

In a blog post announcing Watch, director of product Daniel Danker stated: “Watch is a platform for all creators and publishers to find an audience, build a community of passionate fans, and earn money for their work.”

With this initial move – trying to get ‘community-based’ creators to make shows rather than big TV beasts – it looks like it’s going after a more YouTube feel.

However, with Facebook saying that it is commissioning some of its own shows – including Major League Baseball, Women's basketball, parenting shows and a safari show from National Geographic - it could soon be going after Netflix as well.

Resistance is futile guys, see you on the other side.

(Image: Rex)

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Dave Fawbert

ShortList.com staff writer Dave’s primary passions are pop, prose, punning and power ballads (and alliteration). A lower division football enthusiast and long-suffering cricket fan, he is one of only 110 people followed on Twitter by Chas Hodges from Chas ‘n’ Dave. Follow Dave on Twitter like Chas: @davefawbert

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