Is Facebook Watch the next YouTube or Netflix killer?

Recently, we were asked by a major media outlet to gauge consumer reaction to the new Facebook Watch feature that launched in the U.S. in September. We were curious to see how it aligned with other digital video platforms and where it stood in competition against the incumbent giants of the field Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube. After a nationwide online study with 1,200 consumers across a wide variety of age ranges from our propriety 20|20 Panel, we discovered some interesting results and surprising insights.

Less than 20% of respondents were even aware of Facebook Watch, despite the platform’s prominence in the Facebook interface. We assumed a pretty wide set of competitors would be mentioned as “alternatives,” but according to the study we stand corrected.  There was almost zero mention of any competing platform except YouTube, and across hundreds of comments, only one competitor was mentioned- Netflix. Perhaps most worrisome for Facebook, among those polled who have used the Watch service, only 50% are using it regularly (once a week or more), with a large cohort (34%) reporting they used Watch when it first came out but have since stopped using it since, which was most commonly attributed to lack of interesting content and depth.

Our advice to Watch, based on these insights, would be to recognize that they are being directly compared to YouTube and realize they have a lot of ground to make up in the mind of the consumer if they wish to begin positioning Watch as an alternative to more premium services with scripted content. Additionally, they should amass a catalog of fresh, new content that will appeal to a wider audience and drive more frequent usage.

Special thanks to Katee George, Research Manager here at 20|20 for the stellar work pulling off a fast-turn insights project!

To read the full report and study findings, click here: