10 years since first YouTubers, are Facebookers set to take over?
By Fan Yixin
Facebook is launching a new Watch tab to its app featuring exclusive video content, which might be set to give Youtube a run for its money. 
The company announced the new feature on Wednesday which will see Facebook roll out live and prerecorded programs across all platforms, including its TV app. 
Starting on Thursday for a small group of users in the US, Facebook is aiming for a global rollout of the new service. 
The Watch tab appears on Facebook's navigation bar as a TV-shaped play button. /Facebook

The Watch tab appears on Facebook's navigation bar as a TV-shaped play button. /Facebook

Previously, Facebook users got their videos in their news feed, shared either by friends or posted on pages they followed. 
But with growing numbers of people using Facebook as a source of video material, the company decided to get in on the act and start producing their own. 
“As more and more people enjoy this experience, 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," wrote Director of Product Daniel Danker in a blog post. 
The Watch tab on Facebook's website.

The Watch tab on Facebook's website.

The trend, the features

But getting people to see Facebook as a video service is like Walmart trying to sell high fashion or McDonald’s peddling high-end food, Joel Espelien, senior analyst with video research firm The Diffusion Group told AP.
Competitors such as YouTube and Snapchat have already experimented with original video content. 
YouTube funds many original series and movies on its paid service Youtube Red while Snapchat has tried making its own shows but is now focusing on signing deals with TV studios for video content for its Discover section
Facebook's Watch will showcase episodic videos that follow a storyline and users can create their own Watchlist so they will not miss episodes. 
Views are also expected to share and comment on content and communicate directly with the video creators. 
Facebook, however, is a latecomer to the interaction game. 

The late interactions

“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. 
Facebook Watch interface. /Facebook

Facebook Watch interface. /Facebook

Livestreaming apps in Asian countries including China and Japan have been on point of using interactive features to improve user engagement with content creators. 
Streamers can read comments and receive gift points through the comments section floating across the screen.
When Facebook first introduced similar features like the floating thumb-ups and other reactions to its live videos, its Asian rivals had already been in the game for a number of years.

The 'Facebookers'

For the new Watch tab, Facebook is hoping to collaborate with videomakers, much like the YouTubers who generate content for YouTube, but on an exclusive basis.
“We want any publisher/creator who is interested to be able to create a show in the future,” a Facebook spokesperson told TechCrunch, “So there will be hundreds of shows at launch, and we’ll hopefully scale to thousands.”
Before Facebook even reached out for collaborations, some had already started sharing video content exclusively on Facebook.
Nas Daily, also known as Nuseir Yassion, quit his engineering job at Venmo and started posting one-minute video dailies on the site.  
Nas Daily on Facebook.

Nas Daily on Facebook.

Yassion once said in one of his videos that he would rather communicate with one million real friends on Facebook than post a video on YouTube and read comments left by fake identities. 
Through the real friends he made, Yassion was able to travel around the world and experience an authentic local life, which ultimately led to more video ideas.
For the new Watch feature, exclusive content creators will receive a 55 percent ad break revenue and get to choose where they want to place the ad in their videos.
With the cross-platform feature, Facebook is aiming for something bigger than just internet video clips. The future "Facebookers" might even become famous television personalities.
"We hope Watch will be home to a wide range of shows — from reality to comedy to live sports," CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post. "Some will be made by professional creators, and others from regular people in our community."