Facebook unveils YouTube competitor Watch with shows from A&E, MLB, Univision and others


Facebook has officially announced Watch, its new video hub for the user community as well as content companies like A&E and MLB.

Watch, which is getting a limited rollout in the U.S. before becoming more widely available, is being positioned as a feature similar to YouTube, where creators will be able to launch shows, enable Show Pages to serve as landing points for individual series, send users notifications about new content and eventually monetize the content through Ad Breaks.

“We’ve been testing Ad Breaks over the past few months, and we will be slowly opening up availability to more creators to ensure we’re providing a good experience for the community,” wrote Nick Grudin, vice president of Media Partnerships at Facebook, in a blog post. He added that creators will be able to create sponsored shows using Facebook’s branded content tag.

In addition to the live and recorded shows from creators, Facebook’s Watch will also house short- and long-form content from professional publishers. Shows include A&E’s dating show Bae or Bail, Brit & Co’s Tiny Houses, Univision’s Liga MX soccer matches, and an MLB game of the week.

RELATED: After delays, Facebook’s TV shows will finally arrive in mid-August

Facebook’s new video strategy is coming to light after some delays. The social media giant was initially reported to be planning a June debut for new, original TV series-like content on its platform.

Fidji Simo, Facebook’s vice president of product, told Variety that the early series on Watch are being funded to jump-start the platform, which Facebook hopes at some point will become a self-sustaining ecosystem fueled by creators.

“The main reason we are funding them is to seed the ecosystem,” she told the publication. “The goal long term is absolutely that the ecosystem will be creating these shows.”