Facebook is looking to launch itself as a key competitor in the streaming industry by launching an ad-free video streaming service within its platform. Initially being tested on users in the US, the content offering will include BritBox, College Humor’s Dropout, Tastemade Plus and MotorTrend OnDemand. Furthermore, a unique bonus feature will see users able to join ‘Watch Parties’, giving them the ability to communicate with other people while they’re watching.

The videos will be available in the Facebook Watch ecosystem, and people will see subscription content appear in their newsfeeds. According to the Wall Street Journal, Facebook is expected to receive a percentage of the subscription costs it generates for its video partners.

A spokeswoman said in a statement: “We’re excited to bring more of people’s favorite 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 subscriptions will combine viewing material with the social aspects of the social media giant, with users able to talk with other fans about particular episodes. There will also be prompts for people to sign up for free trials, and users will be able to complete transactions when logged into the Facebook app. The prices of the subscriptions will vary between $2.99 and $6.99 a month.

In June, Facebook stated that Watch had reached over 720 million monthly videos. Competitor YouTube states that 1.9 billion logged in users watch video on its platform each month.

Facebook has spent a lot of time investing in video streaming, particularly since the launch of its Watch service in 2017. This free, ad-supported video hub offers publishers such as CNN and Fox News the ability to post shows to the platform. It’s known for reality and talk shows such as Jada Pinkett Smith’s Red Table Talk. According to the social media giant, 140 million people view Watch content on a daily basis for at least a minute.

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