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Facebook has been trying for years to become a major player in digital video, but still lags behind its competitors.

The big video providers are unlikely to be anxious about Facebook's platform at this early stage, but with a potential audience of two billion and the social elements it offers, Watch could eventually grow into a real competitor. Initially, it will be available to selected users.

In a blog post yesterday, the company announced the rollout of Watch, a service that will show video content "produced exclusively for it by partners".

Consumer Reports is pulling its recommendation of four Microsoft laptops after a survey found that users were complaining about problems with the devices.

Zuckerberg said that the Watch tab will be rolled out to a limited number of Facebook users in the USA first, and more people will be able to use it "soon". Over time, the Watch tab will learn the likes and interests of users and make recommendations accordingly.

Watch is a redesign of the site's current video tab, altered in a way meant to entice people to watch for longer stretches and return regularly to view shows, including the first programmes funded by the company. Watch will feature a Watchlist so that the latest episodes are easy to find.

"We think creating a show has a number of benefits, like the ability to reach a predictable and loyal audience", Facebook's Nick Grudin, VP of Media Partnerships, wrote of the plan.

"More and more people are coming to Facebook with the intention of watching videos", said Fidji Simo, who leads Facebook's video efforts. Another show is Kitchen Little from publisher Tastemade. There's also a live program featuring motivational speaker Gabby Bernstein, who will answer questions from Facebook users.

To encourage more people to create shows for Watch, Facebook said it would expand its video advertisement monetisation program, which shares revenue from commercials that appear during videos.

As The Verge notes, "If successful, Facebook's push into video programming could represent a major new source of revenue for the company, which has begun running out of room to place new ads in in the News Feed". Mark Zuckerberg, who previously said that we're entering a "golden age for live video", sees the format as the future of his company.


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