Facebook says Facebook Watch, the video platform it launched globally in 2018, now draws more than 1.25 billion viewers a month.
That’s a large chunk of Facebook’s overall monthly active user base of 2.7 billion, though there are caveats. A viewer can be anyone who watches as little as one minute of video, for example.
Nevertheless, Watch has held up better than some early naysayers predicted, and the video offering is giving Facebook ammunition in its battle with YouTube. A few shows, including Red Table Talk — which recently made a splash with Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith discussing marital fidelity — have become breakouts. A spinoff starring Gloria Estefan is in the works.
Pop star Katy Perry premiered her video for the title track to her album Smile on Watch, part of a new initiative focused on music. Steve Harvey’s Watch show was recently renewed for a second season.
“During a time when people can’t come together physically, more people are turning to Watch to stay connected to creators, artists, sports, entertainment and what’s happening in the world,” Paresh Rajwat, Head of Video Products, wrote in a blog post Thursday.
He noted that a recently introduced live video section within Watch helped the UEFA Champions League soccer final rack up 13.7 million viewers. Perry’s video was seen by “millions,” he added.
Even though the length of viewing remains unknown, short-form video gains have been significant, the company says. French national broadcaster M6 has seen a two-and-a-half-fold increase in one-minute videos over the past nine months, organically gaining more than 6 million new followers on its various Facebook pages, Rajwat said.
Stateside partners like the UFC and BuzzFeed are also seeing positive results, according to the blog post. UFC generates “seven figures” in annual ad revenue via Facebook Watch. BuzzFeed, whose pages include Tasty, Goodful, Nifty, BringMe, Cocoa Butter and Pero Like, has seen positive results from a focus on producing more videos longer than three minutes.
“We moved quickly and increased our payout from total in-stream ads by 20% compared to the previous half,” said Maycie Timpone, Executive Director, Video & Publishing at BuzzFeed.