Facebook trials paid subscriptions for Watch on-demand video streaming platform

Anne Freier

In Mobile Advertising. August 13, 2019

Facebook is testing paid subscriptions for its on-demand video streaming platform Watch competing with the likes of Hulu and Amazon.

According to The Wall Street Journal the company will be airing content from CollegeHumor, BBC and ITV as part of a trial period.

Paid subscriptions would provide an additional revenue stream for the social network, although it’s unlikely to come anywhere close to the company’s mobile advertising revenues. The network announced a 28% increase in revenues to $16.9 billion for Q2 2019.

Initial testing will only be available in the US.

“We’re testing video subscriptions on Facebook, starting with a limited set of partners. We’re excited to bring more of people’s favourite shows and videos to Facebook, where subscribers can enjoy the content together with other fans. We’ll be listening to feedback from our community,” the company announced in a statement.

Facebook will charge different prices depending on the content, for example it charges $4.99 for CollegeHumor’s DropOut, and $6.99 for ITV’s BritBox.

Subscribers gain access to original content including dramas, comedies and documentaries, virtual viewing parties and chats with other viewers.

As the mobile ad market continues to become more crowded with competitors such as Amazon, subscription revenues could be a successful addition to bolster potential losses in ad sales.

However, the social network faces stiff competition from the likes of Netflix, Apple TV and HBO Max.

Facebook will process any subscription payments for its partners and take a cut.

By building strong communities of video fans, Facebook is simultaneously driving social engagement. The company has been losing steam as users flock to other platforms including its own subsidiary Instagram.