Facebook Watch will consider movies, but not in competition with streaming services

    Fares Akkad, head of media partnerships for Facebook and Instagram for MEA, Turkey & Pakistan explains the business model behind Facebook Watch
    Facebook watch, Facebook, Social streaming, Social media content, OTT, Middle east streaming service, UAE, Video on demand, Live streaming, Sports rights, OTT sports

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    On-demand video service Facebook Watch will possibly feature longer content such as films, though it claims it will not compete with streaming platforms such as Netflix, according to Fares Akkad, head of media partnerships for Facebook and Instagram for MEA, Turkey & Pakistan. 

    This week, social giant Facebook announced it will launch the video service in the UAE and globally after first introducing it in the US last year. Similarly to streaming services, Facebook's new video-on-demand feature Facebook Watch offers users the chance to watch shows and videos by creators, celebrities and production houses. But Akkad said the service follows a different model to that of OTT platforms.

    “We are considering movies and other content… [But] we operate a completely different model to that of OTT platforms. Facebook is a platform, not a video streaming service or studio. We offer a personalised place to connect around video that can only exist on our platform, with social features built right into the video experience,” he said, adding that users can have two-way conversations about content with friends, fans, or creators themselves.

    Unlike streaming platforms, Facebook Watch is open to all partners and creators

    “We have a different approach to Netflix. We’re not looking for something that could be done on TV. We are a social media company. We’re building on that we are social and everything we do with that premise works really well on platform… you could go live on the platform and streaming is free. We’re not looking for subscriptions. We are also primarily open to everyone. If you have a traditional show, you’re more than welcome to put it on our platform,” he said.

    Akkad added that Facebook Watch will produce some content, though most of its collection will come from its community, which includes publishing houses, producers and creators.

    “Our primary goal is not to compete, as much as it is to offer the best, most convenient service to our service and respond to the trend of increased video consumption on Facebook,” he said.

    Facebook announced this month it would broadcast for free Spanish top flight division football matches in the Indian subcontinent, and Champions League matches in Latin America. Some of its content on Faceook Watch includes Red Table Talk with Jada Pinkett Smith and reality TV show Huda Boss with beauty mogul Huda Kattan.

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