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A big week for tech blowback: Regulation, broken promises, and Facebook victimhood
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Sept. 18, 2017, 11:26 a.m.
Audience & Social
LINK: medium.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Laura Hazard Owen   |   September 18, 2017

“Dog Who Lost Her Legs Was Determined To Walk Again.” “Two Zombies Go on a Blind Date in VR.” “SHE HAS 20 CARS!”

If you haven’t yet waded into Watch — the original video tab that Facebook launched earlier this month — then please know that somebody else spent the equivalent of a day there and then wrote up what he found. Henry Goldman, who was head of video at BuzzFeed News until last month, watched 24 hours of video on Facebook Watch (over the course of about a week) to “to figure out what might work and what seems weird, at least, so far.” (He even made a spreadsheet to track what he watched.)

A few of his notes:

— “I watched a total of 162 ‘shows,’ with an average run time of 8.9 minutes.” Some videos on Facebook Watch are over an hour. “The reason I didn’t watch these is, well, I really didn’t want to. But also, seeing how few views these samples were getting, it didn’t feel necessary to devote an 1/8th of the time of the experiment to checking them out. It’s not yet a real use-case for the platform.”

— He particularly liked a show by NowThis News, Apocalypse NowThis.

“It’s kind of got everything I would think publishers would want in a show: a likeable recurring host, a format and title that explains exactly what the show is, and a subject matter that has lots of different directions you can go, many of which will be shareable as a kind of PSA to your friends. One week it’s, ‘We’re all gonna die by Nuclear holocaust.’ The next it’s ‘we’re all gonna die by global warming.’ Clever.” He also liked Refinery 29’s scripted show Strangers.

— There are a lot of videos of podcast interviews (those, along with live sports and some radio shows, are contributing to the bulk of the hour-long-plus videos). “I suspect it will be a little while before hour-plus conversation shows become a high-performing format in FB, though making use of Live functionality might help.”

— “There’s plenty of shows that represent my least favorite internet video form, what I call ‘Shittier, Cheaper TV,’ or SCTV for short.” (Apologies to Bob and Doug McKenzie.)

— Discovery isn’t great yet, “but algorithmic recommendation is the kind of thing you can expect Facebook to improve upon.”

— He thinks that Watch will work, but probably not in the way the company expects. “When they introduced video in 2014 (and throttled the amount of shares any YouTube video could get on the platform), I don’t think they said, ‘In 2 years, there will be BILLIONS of views for text-driven, audio-optional, 60-second viral food videos.’ (If anyone DID say that, then hats off to you.)”

The post is here.

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