On Today’s Q2 earnings call, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg boasted that originals on Facebook’s 11-month-old video platform, Watch, was gaining momentum (finally). Though Zuckerberg didn’t give any specifics on numbers, he pointed to two shows as an example of its success: Jada Pinket Smith’s “Red Table Talks,” which debuted in May, and “Skam Austin,” which launched in April.
Zuckerburg didn’t elaborate on exactly how he defines the success of the two series, but when taking a look at subscribers/views, “Red Table Talks” has performed well on a consistent basis, averaging around 2 million views per episode. This is a breath of fresh air when comparing the performance of “Red Table Talks” to other shows on the platform, which experience a significant drop in viewership after the premiere episode. “Five Points,” for example, the company’s first original drama, experienced a drop of more than 70 percent from the first to the third episode, dropping to 190K from 2 million views.
“Skam Austin,” the second show Zuckerberg spoke to, has a similar experience, falling from 3 million views for its debut episode to 219k on its second. Since then, viewership has fluctuated jumping as high as 14 million for episode six to 175K for one of its more recent episodes.
Zuckerberg emphasized that, rather than increasing watch time, content on Watch is made with the intention of bringing people together to engage and build a community around the shows. This may be one of the reasons he pointed to “Skam Austin” as an example of success, as the show attempts to create a community around each character using personalized Instagram profiles that are linked to on the “Skam Austin” show page (pictured above) so users can follow their favorite characters.
Overall, Facebook says it plans to continue to invest in video content going forward, though no exact figures were given. However, the last time Facebook talked about its content budget, the plan was to spend $1 billion on originals. Since then Watch’s library has grown to encompass more than 100 shows.
Though Zuckerberg had pleasant things to say about Watch, other areas of the business were not so lucky. The company missed projections on revenue and global daily active users this quarter. Earnings per share came out to $1.74 vs. $1.72 per a Thomson Reuters consensus estimate, while revenue hit $13.23 billion compared to $13.36 billion.
Facebook shares were down as much as 20 percent during after-hours trading.