It’s been nearly a year since social networking giant Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) launched Watch, its new video platform that seeks to challenge YouTube, one of the most popular video-sharing sites in the world that is owned and operated by Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOG) (NASDAQ: GOOGL) subsidiary Google. Watch is getting a handful of new features and tools that are intended to help creators make content that can also be interactive, in an effort to bolster engagement on the platform, the company announced just yesterday. There are even new monetization options, such as subscriptions.
That’s not all the video news Facebook has lately.
Facebook subsidiary Instagram just announced its own new video platform that is designed for long-form video content: IGTV. The service, which presumably stands for Instagram TV, will feature vertical video that can be as long as an hour. IGTV will immediately begin playing upon opening the app, which will be a stand-alone app that is separate from the core Instagram app. (The jury is still out on why Facebook has not yet released a stand-alone Watch app, instead choosing to bury the service in the sidebar of the main Facebook app.) Creators will be able to make their own channels, and any user can become a creator, just like YouTube.
In addition to competing with YouTube, there are some shots at Snap (NYSE: SNAP) here, too. Snapchat is largely credited with normalizing the idea of vertical videos, which is typically how people use smartphones and other mobile devices, and using vertical videos is just the latest idea that Instagram is borrowing from Snap. Snap has also made some progress with shows, although they’re still fairly short, usually just a few minutes each. Snapchat is reportedly about to add documentary series to its Discover page.
In terms of monetization, that will come later. Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom said that IGTV will not have any ads at first, but that the platform was “obviously a very reasonable place” for ads eventually. Systrom also noted that it is not funding any type of content creation, another contrast to Facebook Watch’s approach, which has been to help fund a small handful of original shows in an effort to “inspire creators and seed the ecosystem.”
Move fast and monetize things
Facebook appears to be accelerating its monetization efforts across its vast portfolio of services. From rolling out autoplay video ads in Messenger to introducing ads in Marketplace, the company is starting to ramp up its efforts to generate revenue from other ad distribution channels. Earlier this month, reports surfaced of Facebook executives pressuring WhatsApp to “move faster” with monetization.
So yeah, investors should stop worrying about Facebook reaching a limit for ad load in the News Feed. There are plenty of other places to put ads.
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Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Evan Niu, CFA owns shares of Facebook. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (A shares), Alphabet (C shares), and Facebook. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.