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Business

Facebook Watch takes on strong competitors

Facebook has made its biggest move yet to compete in the video and TV markets. It's launching a redesigned product called "Watch" as it expands its video offerings with original programming for many target groups.

The new platform for shows on Facebook would be available on mobile devices, desktops, laptops and TV apps, Facebook reported on its website. "Watch" would be accessible initially to a limited group in the US, the company added.

The world's largest social network added a video tab last year and had been dropping hints for months that it wanted to become a source of original and well-produced videos, rather than just shows compiled by users.

"Watching video on Facebook has the incredible power to connect people, spark conversation and foster community," Director of Product Daniel Danker commented.

Reuters reported earlier this year that Facebook had signed deals with millennial-focused news and entertainment creators Vox Media, BuzzFeed, ATTN, Group Nine Media and others to produce shows.

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"We've learned that people like the serendipity of discovering videos in News Feed, but they also want a dedicated place they can go to watch videos," Danker said.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg added that "Watch" would allow users to "chat and connect with people during an episode, and join groups with people, who like the same shows afterwards to build community."

Eventually, the platform is meant to be open to any show creator as a place to distribute video.

California-based Facebook faces a crowded market with not only traditional television networks, but newer producers such as Netflix and YouTube as well as Twitter and Snap.

hg/jd (Facebook, Reuters)

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