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Exclusive: Facebook begins testing ‘Watch’ for Android users in India


Almost after a year of US launch, Facebook has silently been testing Watch in India, a new platform for shows (videos) on Facebook. Watch features personalized recommendations of live and recorded shows to consume. It lets users to save video, follow channels and hide videos option (block) from any broadcaster.

Entrackr has successfully tried the Watch tab on multiple Android phones, however, we failed to find it on iPhones. Presently, it seems like Facebook is testing it for a major chunk of overall Android-powered phones in India.

Watch screenshot

Based on one’s video consumption pattern on Facebook, it curates personalised feed of original videos.

Watch allows users to subscribe to updates on new episodes of shows. While launch in the US has several categories including ‘Shows Your Friends Are Watching’, ‘Most Talked About’, and ‘What’s Making People Laugh’, such categories don’t exist in Watch at the moment for Indian users.

Although, Watch in the US is available across mobile, desktop and Facebook’s TV apps. We haven’t found its desktop version in India. It seems like Facebook would take some time for full fledged launch of Watch.

We have sent queries to Facebook to learn more insight about Watch testing in India. We will update the post as responses come in.

Entrackr has spotted several broadcasters including News18, India TV, Aaj Tak, Glamrs, TVF, AIB, Vigo amongst others. Users can create watchlist using filters such as shows, pages, content creators. Watchlist essentially throws video recommendation based on page liked by individuals.

For uninitiated, Watch is an original content video content produced for Facebook by its partners. The revenue earned through video will be shared by content creators and Facebook. While broadcaster would keep 55 per cent of revenue, remaining 45 per cent will go to Facebook.

Facebook is monetising Watch through ad breaks (as similar to YouTube).

A quick look at video streaming market in India

Ever since Reliance Jio launch in 2016, Indian streaming market has been experiencing a hockey stick growth. Indian online video industry is expected to touch $1.6 billion in revenue by 2022, from the estimated $340 million in 2017, as per media research and consulting firm Media Partners Asia (MPA).

About 216 million people had used streaming service by the end of 2017 (76 million more than 2016).

Meanwhile, over the past two years, OTT space in India has been crowded as many players jumped on video streaming bandwagon.

Besides Hotstar, Voot, ZEE5 and Sony Liv, Amazon Prime, ALT Balaji and Netflix are bullish about their growth in India. Alibaba is also slated to launch an OTT service soon. The Jack Ma-led company eyes at entertainment-centric short video space (less than 20 minutes).

Given that Indian video streaming market is getting crowded, Facebook requires to find a way to make Watch stand out.

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