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Can Facebook get people to tune into shows on the social network?

Queenie Wong, The Mercury News on

Published in Science & Technology News

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Watching video online is getting more social.

Facebook introduced a platform Wednesday called Watch that will allow users to discover new shows that their friends are also viewing.

"Watching a show doesn't have to be passive. It can be a chance to share an experience and bring people together who care about the same things," wrote Facebook CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg in a post.

Taking on Google-owned YouTube and Twitter, it's Facebook's latest effort to get more video content on the social network. The move also allows the company, which has more than 2 billion monthly users, to go after more lucrative video ad dollars.

Other tech firms such as Amazon, Netflix, Apple have also tried to entice more users to spend more time on their sites by releasing video content. But if Facebook wants to become like Netflix, some analysts say it will be a taller order for the tech firm because people don't associate the website with long-form television shows.

Videos on YouTube, on the other hand, are shorter in length and also include comments from viewers.

 

"When you say a YouTube video that conjures a set of qualities that are very different from a Netflix show. I think there's a big gap between those type of experiences and it depends where Facebook wants to sit on that spectrum," said Paul Verna, an analyst with eMarketer.

Verna said he thinks Facebook is trying to sit somewhere in the middle.

"They want to be more than a one-minute viral cat video or a Tasty recipe video, but they don't necessarily want to be the place to go where people watch 'Game of Thrones' or 'Orange Is the New Black,'" he said.

Longer video content also gives companies "more of a runway for more advertising," he said.

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