Facebook Watch, the social network’s budding video hub, is going global.
Facebook announced the rollout on Wednesday, and its content will be available to international users beginning on Thursday. Launched last August in the U.S., Facebook Watch is the company’s attempt to muscle its way into a crowded digital video landscape, aiming to pull eyeballs away from competitors like YouTube and Netflix.
With $1 billion earmarked for content, Facebook Watch has hosted an eclectic mix of shows in its first year; Lakers guard Lonzo Ball and his family have been chronicled on “Ball in the Family,” while Patriots quarterback Tom Brady received his own reality show, “Tom vs. Time.” Facebook has also partnered with several Hollywood celebrities, including Zooey Deschanel and Jada Pinkett Smith, and has rolled out a host of drama and news shows.
About 50 million people in the States watch one of Facebook’s shows for at least a minute each month, according to Fidji Simo, Facebook’s head of video, on Wednesday.
Matthew Henick, Facebook’s head of content strategy and policy, said in a call with reporters that the social network is focused on “evolving our funding content strategy.” Facebook is looking to find new ways to attract creators, giving pages that meet certain benchmarks (10,000 Facebook followers, 3-minute videos, and at least 30,000 views of a minute or longer) the ability to use its Ad Breaks program to monetize their content. The program is available in the U.S., U.K., Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland starting Wednesday and will expand to other countries later in the year.