Facebook would like more of your attention.
The social media giant is expanding Facebook Watch, its platform for video content currently residing somewhere next to your Newsfeed, and bringing it to more screens across the globe.
In a blog post on Thursday, Facebook (FB) went into some detail about its plans for Facebook Watch, which has received little fanfare to date in the three months since its global launch. Facebook's head of video, Fidji Simo, wrote that more than 75 million people spent "at least one minute" and an average of 20 minutes on Watch daily, and that it draws 400 million viewers on a monthly basis.
"We're seeing that people are regularly coming back to catch up on the videos they care about and watching for longer periods of time," Simo wrote.
In an effort to capture -- and monetize -- more viewers on Facebook Watch, Facebook laid out a strategy of continuing to invest in longer-form original content paired with improvements to ad tools, including ad breaks in video and new options for advertisers coming in 2019. Notably, it's also rolling out Facebook Watch to users of Facebook Lite, its stripped-down version of the Facebook app that's designed to work with slow or shaky Internet connections common in rural parts of the globe.
Facebook Lite has been installed over one billion times since it was launched in 2015, according to its Google Play listing, and is currently the 119th most-installed free app on Android. Facebook also launched a "lite" version of Instagram in June.
With Facebook engagement on the decline in the U.S., and growth in new users slowing, Facebook Watch could figure into a larger plan to boost participation on the site through video -- particularly in the global markets that represent Facebook's best hope to revive its decelerating growth in new users. According to a recent Pew Research survey, rates of social media use in countries labeled as emerging markets increased from 40% to 53% between 2016 and 2017, while social media use is plateauing in developed countries.
"We know that in the age of 'peak TV,' simply being entertaining or having high production values isn't good enough. A show needs to strike a chord in the broader cultural zeitgeist or serve a group of passionate people that want something they can't get elsewhere," Simo wrote.
Facebook's stock was roughly flat on Thursday, and is down 20% since the beginning of this year.
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