Facebook to Expand Video Offerings

Facebook last week announced a new platform for watching videos as a follow-up to the video tab it launched last year as a “predictable place to find videos.”

Called Watch, the platform will feature live and recorded content from National Geographic, A&E, Major League Baseball, and other providers that follows a theme or storyline. Facebook said it will be available in the coming weeks to a limited group of people via desktop, and TV apps before rolling out on a larger scale.

Shows will be organized by popularity — including what a user is following and what their friends are watching — and the latest episodes will appear in a Watchlist.

“We’ve learned that people like the serendipity of discovering videos in News Feed, but they also want a dedicated place they can go to watch videos,” said Daniel Danker, Facebook’s director of product. “Now we want to make it even easier to catch up with shows you love.”

The new platform will be personalized and include “What Friends Are Watching,” “Most Talked About,” and “What’s Making People Laugh,” made up of shows that get many “Haha” reactions.

“We’ve learned from Facebook Live that people’s comments and reactions to a video are often as much a part of the experience as the video itself,” Danker said. “So when you watch a show, you can see comments and connect with friends and other viewers while watching, or participate in a dedicated Facebook Group for the show.”

Facebook anticipates that Watch will be home to a wide range of shows — including reality TV, comedy, and live sports — and plans to fund some shows. Among them is Returning the Favor , a series hosted by Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs fame where he finds people doing something extraordinary for their community, tells the world about it, and in turn does something extraordinary for them. Candidates are nominated by Mike’s fans on Facebook.

For more information, visit fb.com.