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Facebook doubles Watch numbers in six months with 140 million daily viewers

What's New in Publishing 13 Jun 2019 09:32

…but only a third of publisher-funded shows are being renewed. We take a look at the latest update from Facebook Watch.

Facebook has released updated viewing figures for Watch, its video-on-demand streaming service which rolled out worldwide in August last year.

Watch now has 140 million daily viewers – people who spend at least one minute in Watch – according to the tech giant, with more than 720 million people tuning in monthly.

Those figures are almost double the 75 million users reported in December 2018. Average time spent on videos in Watch has also increased, from 20 minutes daily in December, to 26 minutes.

Facebook credits its original shows like Jada Pinkett Smith’s “Red Table Talk” and Elizabeth Olsen’s “Sorry for Your Loss” for keeping the momentum going. But as with all figures the company releases, they haven’t been independently verified, and there isn’t enough information given to work out how much of a consistent audience is being built.

There are also question marks over Facebook’s measure of ‘engagement’. Facebook defines an engaged viewer as one who has spent at least 60 seconds with Watch per month or day, but according to Axios, those 60 seconds don’t need to be consecutive. And with autoplay still enabled on most people’s News Feeds, it’s difficult to say how many of those seconds are from people stopping to actually watch content, rather than just scrolling past.

You win some, you lose some

While Facebook is funding the content, it’s easy for publishers to see gains from ad breaks, with the revenue being split with Facebook. But when the funding dries up, will the millions of views gathered by viral publishers like Buzzfeed actually translate to enough revenue to cover the production costs?

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FacebookCNNWatch PartyAnderson CooperEsther Kezia Thorpe
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