Facebook launches new video platform to rival YouTube and Netflix

Image capture of video by Crazy Boom via YouTube

Facebook is launching a new video service that will allow some two billion users to watch programs, sports or series directly on the social network; a feature that will rival platforms such as YouTube or streaming services like Netflix.

This service, called Watch, will include a range of content from documentaries, comedies to live sports was announced Wednesday evening by Facebook.

This will be “a place where you can discover what your friends are watching and follow your favorite series and not miss any episodes,” said Mark Zuckerberg.

“You can talk and connect with people during an episode and join groups that like the same series and create a community,” he added.

“Our goal is for Watch to become a platform where all creators and producers find their audience, form a fan community and make money with their work,” said Nick Grudin, vice president of Facebook Media Partnerships.

At first, Watch will only be available to a small group of Facebook users in the US before opening up more widely to US users in the coming weeks.

Creators will be able to monetize their content through advertising spots.

The launch is limited to scripted and professional videos, but Watch place Facebook in potential competition from a platform like YouTube (owned by Alphabet, the parent company of Google), and eventually other streaming services like Netflix if this functionality appeals to a wide audience.