Facebook takes on YouTube with the debut of 'Watch'

Facebook takes on YouTube with the debut of 'Watch'

Facebook had been rumored to be getting into TV-like shows for months now, but Watch looks more like YouTube.

Facebook has been willing to pay millions of dollars for exclusive rights to more premium, longer shows, while less expensive and shorter shows reportedly cost between $5,000 and $20,000. On Facebook, videos are discovered through friends and bring communities together.

Facebook Watch is now in a limited testing phase in the USA, available only to an exclusive group of users.

The social network initially hoped to debut its redesigned video tab and show effort earlier this year, but the date has been moved back several times as more show partners have been brought on board.

The social network on Wednesday introduced Watch, a new video platform for programming produced exclusively for Facebook users.

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Facebook paid to seed some of the original content that will appear in the section. In 2016, the company added a video tab to the Facebook app, where people can find new video content. If it can drive enough viewers to these shows thanks to its 2 billion total users, Facebook could offer significant revenue-share payouts, attracting better and better content creators.

The Watch feature will be personalized, suggesting new shows - both live and recorded - based on what your friends and communities are watching. A Watchlist feature lets you subscribe to updates on new episodes of your favorite shows.

In a nutshell, Shows are videos grouped by episode or theme, in contrast to your run of the mill one-off cat videos. You'll also be able to participate in a dedicated Facebook Group for individual shows.

Facebook already has content lined up, including Major League Baseball, Women's basketball, parenting shows and a safari show from National Geographic. Facebook is also inviting a limited number of creators to become part of its initial lineup of original Shows.