Facebook challenges TV and YouTube, local video creators to benefit

Leonard Sengere Avatar

Facebook is quite popular here in Zimbabwe, heck there even are bundles to access the site. We all scroll down our feeds digesting posts from former classmates and wedding videos from dear relatives. Viral stunt videos and epic fails are shared and discussed. Turns out we watch a lot of those videos and Facebook has done something about it.

Facebook has launched Watch, a tab which will make it easier for users to find videos. Finding videos not in your feed will be easier now as there is a tab dedicated to videos. Gone are the days when you would rely on other people to discover funny videos and share them for you to see them.

Once you enter the Watch tab, it will look like other video sharing sites, YouTube for example. There are two tabs within the Watch tab, Discover and Watchlist. The Discover tab features recommendations for shows to watch, both live and prerecorded. There are categories for ‘Most Talked About,’ ‘What’s Making People Laugh’ and ‘What Your Friends Are Watching.’ It will then become easy to follow shows created by your favourite publishers.

When you follow a publisher you can then get updates when new videos are posted. All like you would on YouTube. You can then comment on videos and form a community around mutual favourites. It essentially is like YouTube is now available within Facebook. It is early days though and so YouTube still is better in both quantity and quality.

This right here is a game changer for local video content creators like Bustop Tv. There is now an opportunity to reach a bigger audience by utilising both YouTube and Facebook. Facebook itself is the 3rd most visited site in Zimbabwe and there are bundles available for access to the site.

How is this huge considering that creators like Bustop Tv already post videos to their Facebook pages?

The visibility of the videos will be improved meaning more people will see them thanks to the above-mentioned Discovery tab. The problem we had with Facebook was that there was no central video tab for all video content. One had to follow a publisher to get their videos or at least be friends with someone who follows the publisher and shares the video.

Facebook itself is venturing into content creation, produced for it by partners. Original content just like YouTube Red. This content is meant to be of a high quality. By doing this they are hoping more people will visit Facebook just for video content. This benefits the local creators like Madam Boss. How? Original content by Facebook means content that is not available anywhere else. People have to log into Facebook to view it and whilst they are there, they are more likely to discover new content.

As video content becomes more visible it only gets better for publishers creating original content for Facebook. They can insert ad breaks in their videos and get to keep 55% of the revenue from that. It is simple logic, the greater the audience the greater the revenue.

As we discuss if this will really help local video content creators let us remember a few things:

  • For users, Watch comes with no negatives
  • Facebook crossed the 2 billion users mark
  • It has a huge user-base in Zimbabwe (not including Zimbos outside the country)
  • Videos content will have better visibility
  • There is a Facebook bundle, none for YouTube

The roll out of Watch already started in the U.S and will soon make it all the way over here to Zimbabwe. Are you excited about this feature? Are you just a consumer of content or a creator? Do let us know in the comments below.