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Facebook Watch: Could Netflix and YouTube finally have a legitimate rival?

Watching videos on Facebook is not only popular but powerful. It’s a great way to connect with your friends and share content. Often, videos spark a conversation or debate.

Research shows that Facebook users like the idea of finding videos in the News Feed but also like a dedicated place to view them. That’s why the company launched the video tab last year. The tab offers a predictable place to find videos.

Watch replaces video tab

Now, Facebook is making the process even easier by rolling out Watch, which will begin replacing the video tab. The redesigned platform features original programming financed by Facebook and others. You’ll be able to watch shows on desktop, mobile, laptop and in Facebook’s TV apps. Live and recorded episodes are available with a theme or storyline.

Note: Facebook is wading into the waters of streaming video content, but can Watch really compete with other top contenders like Hulu and Netflix. Click here to for five sites that let you watch free TV already

So you don’t miss out on any shows, the Watch tab is divided into two sections. One is Discover, which makes suggestions for videos to watch now.  The other is Watchlist, which collects videos for you to watch later so you’ll never miss an episode.

Shows available at launch include “Nas Daily,” “Gabby Bernstein” and “Kitchen Little.” Facebook also inked a deal with Major League Baseball to broadcast one live game each week.

Right now, Watch is only available to a small number of users but gradually will be available to more people soon.

Purpose of the Watch

The idea of the personalized Watch is to help you find new shows based on what your community and friends are watching. For example, you’ll find categories like “What Friends are Watching” or “What’s Making People Laugh.”

Comments and reactions to videos seem to be just as important as watching the video itself. At least that’s the conclusion from Facebook Live posts. So, when watching a show on this new platform, you’re able to see comments and connect with others while watching or join a dedicated Facebook Group for a particular show.

Facebook’s video programming could prove to be lucrative. The company has already been running out of room for new ads in the News Feed. Amazon, Netflix and YouTube don’t need to worry just yet since it’s still not clear as to whether Facebook users will want to watch longer videos.

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