Facebook hasn’t had a success present but for its long-form video hub Watch, so it’s obtained a brand new plan: digging up some deceased cult favorites from tv. First up, Facebook is making all episodes of Joss Whedon’s Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Firefly free on Facebook Watch. There’ll be simultaneous viewing Watch Events the place followers can live-comment collectively for Buffy at three pm PT at present, Angel tomorrow at 12 pm PT and Firefly on Sunday at 12 pm PT. Facebook recruited Buffy star Sarah Michelle Gellar to advertise the launch.

These reveals aren’t unique, and so they’re removed from unique, as they’re included in a Hulu subscription and can be found to hire or purchase on different platforms. However not less than they’re not run-of-the-mill internet content material. With Facebook’s remake of MTV’s Actual World not arriving till Spring 2019, these sci-fi and horror reveals are essentially the most high-profile applications out there on the free ad-supported streaming service. The hope is that followers of those reveals will come get a style of Watch, after which discover the remainder of its programming.

Nevertheless, Facebook downplayed this as a change is overarching technique once I requested if it will be licensing extra previous TV reveals. As a substitute, it’s attempting to construct a well-rounded mixture of content material. A Facebook spokesperson supplied this assertion:

No – this doesn’t mirror a technique shift. We’re centered on bringing content material to Watch that folks wish to focus on and create a neighborhood round — whether or not that’s dwell sports activities like UEFA Champions League in Latin America, compelling reveals like Sorry For Your Loss, Queen America and Sacred Lies, and even nostalgia content material like Actual World reboot we’re bringing to Watch subsequent yr. Buffy, Firefly and Angel are popular culture favorites with devoted fan bases, and we’re excited for the chance to convey these reveals again in a manner that permits followers to look at and focus on collectively on the identical platform.

There’s no assure Whedon followers will flock to Watch in droves. [TechCrunch owner] Verizon tried the identical factor, bringing Veronica Mars and Babylon 5 to its Go90 streaming service. That failed to maneuver the needle and Go90 finally shut down. In the meantime, Watch Celebration’s simultaneous viewing hasn’t blossomed right into a phenomenon, however maybe bringing the function to Messenger (which TechCrunch stories Facebook is internally testing) might extra naturally spur these social consumption experiences.

Watch has made some progress since its lackluster August 2017 debut. Certainly, 50 million folks now spend not less than 1 minute per 30 days with Watch. For comparability, greater than 18 Snapchat Exhibits have over 10 million distinctive viewers per 30 days. Facebook Watch customers spend 5X longer watching than on clips found on Information Feed movies. However Facebook Watch actually must pour the money in essential to safe a tent-pole collection — its Recreation of Thrones or Home of Playing cards. Which may mesh nicely with its new technique of conceding the youthful viewers that’s abandoning Facebook in favor of focusing on older customers, CNBC reported.

With a lot free video content material floating round and loads of folks already subscribing to Netflix, Hulu and/or HBO, it’s been robust for Watch to achieve traction when it’s up to now exterior the understood Facebook use case. Laying a mattress of various content material is an effective child step, however it wants one thing actually must-see if it’s going to wedge its manner into our viewing habits.

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