Facebook’s Watch video-streaming service is rolling out worldwide, just over a year after its launch in the United States.
According to a new press release from the social media giant, the video-on-demand service, its rival to YouTube, would be “available everywhere” from Thursday, giving publishers and content creators a worldwide market for their videos.
Facebook Watch will be available in Canada as well as part of its worldwide launch.
“The amount we’re investing in this obviously is going to scale with the size of the opportunity, and obviously we’re scaling to the entire globe,” Matthew Henick, Facebook’s head of content strategy and planning, said in an interview.
Creators in certain countries – Ireland, the UK, Australia and New Zealand, to start – will also be able to monetize their content with ad breaks, including pre-roll, mid-roll and static image ads. An additional 21 countries will get monetization turned on in September, which should add a decent amount of inventory.
“With the global launch of Watch, we are supporting publishers and creators globally in two critical areas: helping them to make money from their videos on Facebook and better understand how their content is performing,” the company said in a statement.
Facebook first started broadcasting its slate of original programming last August, kicking off with a duo of shows called Ball in the Family and Virtually Dating. In the intervening months, the social networking giant has boosted the on-demand service with dozens of new programs spanning drama, comedy, reality TV, talk shows, sports, and more.
Engagement on Watch has grown steadily over the past year. Around 50 million people tune into Watch content for at least one minute every month, and total time spent watching videos has increased by a factor of 14 since the beginning of the year.
Since Watch launched, Facebook has made it more socially inclined by helping users see which shows their friends have liked or shared. It also plans to unveil polls, quizzes and other interactive features for upcoming game shows like Outside Your Bubble later this year.
“Beyond the numbers, what’s really important for us is that Watch is not just a passive consumption experience,” she said. “The difference is that Watch is a place for people and their friends to connect and for fans to connect with the creators themselves.”