This past August, Facebook set out on a mission to make a footprint in the online video space with the launch of its video dedicated hub, Watch. The social media giant went full force into the new initiative by funding many of the shows that launched on the platform, which now stands with over 100 series. Now, Facebook is reportedly taking its OTT platform to India, a country that has the most Facebook users in the world.
According to The Ken, a digital subscription-driven publication headquartered out of India, Mark Zuckerberg plans to make Watch a common destination for India’s internet users, a group whose eyeballs are dominated by YouTube. The launch will take place sometime between January and March of next year, according to the publication.
In order to successfully compete against Google-owned YouTube, which has placed great focus on Indian creators in the country, Facebook is relying on its discoverability features, sources told the publication. The company’s discoverability breaks down into two categories — ‘Discover’ and ‘Watchlist.’ In Discover, videos are categorized under sections called ‘News this week’, ‘What friends are watching’ and ‘Coming Soon.’ Whereas, Watchlist is a personalized feed where users can find saved episodes of shows followed. The company also has a plethora of data to help identify which shows a user is more likely to enjoy. Additionally, Facebook is said to be planning to house regional-language content on the platform.
The social media giant also plans to have live content on the platform, which is probably why it recently bid $600 million for a five-year deal to stream Indian cricket matches (the most popular sport in the country). Unfortunately for the company, it was out bid by Star India, owned by 21st Century Fox.
If the social media giant is planning to take Watch to India — which the compani the platform could be very successful. Its content, which is typically designed with mobile viewing in mind, would fit nicely with the rapid increase of smartphone users in India, which is how a majority of the country accesses the internet. And because most internet users in the area have a Facebook account, they are likely to stumble upon the Watch platform during their daily use of Facebook.