Facebook is expected to spend between $1 billion and $2 billion on content deals for Facebook Watch over the next year, its video destination for episodic content the social giant launched about one year ago.
But 12 months in, Facebook Watch has an awareness problem. According to a new survey by research firm the Diffusion Group, fully 50% of adult Facebook users in the U.S. said they have never heard of the free Watch video service, while 24% have heard of it but never used it. Another 5% said they’ve used Facebook Watch — but not recently.
Just 6% of respondents said they use Facebook Watch at least daily, while 8% use the service weekly and 7% have watched shows once or twice per month. The results are based on TDG’s survey of 1,632 U.S. adult Facebook users conducted in May 2018.
That said, Facebook had 241 million monthly active users in the U.S. and Canada for the second quarter of 2018. The TDG survey results indicate that in the U.S./Canada, Facebook Watch has a base of about 50 million viewers, with a highly active group of around 14 million users.
Obviously, Facebook would like to see more usage of Watch. But even with the survey’s finding of low awareness about the service, Facebook’s long-term potential as a large-scale video provider can’t be discounted, said TDG president Michael Greeson. “Prominent social platforms like Facebook are looking for ways to exploit their massive scale to sell new video services to their users, much as Amazon has done with Prime,” he noted.
One of Facebook Watch’s breakout shows the talk show “Red Table Talk” with Jada Pinkett Smith and her family. The show now has 2.9 million followers since debuting May 7, and its official Facebook discussion group has more than 366,000 members (up from 260,000 two months ago) who talk about the show and submit questions to the hosts each week.
Another top Facebook original has been “Ball in the Family,” produced by reality-TV specialists Bunim-Murray Productions. The show — which follows LaVar Ball and his basketball-playing clan, including son Lonzo, a point guard for the L.A. Lakers — has 1.6 million followers, after season 3 premiered June 10.