Facebook’s getting into the content biz. Like?

Van Veen, standing, with Danker to his right, Wednesday at MIPCOM

CANNES — Want to get your series streamed before two billion subscribers?

Now you can, thanks to Facebook. The social media giant was represented earlier this week at MIPCOM by two dudes without socks: Ricky Van Veen, head of Global Creative Strategy, and Daniel Danker, Director of Video Product. Six weeks ago, they helped launch Facebook’s video platform Watch. Don’t think this little do-hickey is a game changer? Listen to this, gramps:

Fifty per cent of all data traffic currently on Facebook is going to video. And more and more of that is drawn by Facebook Live — around 20 per cent.  That’s how 29 million people worldwide watched the recent solar eclipse.

The Watch platform, currently being tested only in the U.S., will allow Facebook users to access video content and TV series curated to their own tastes.

Facebook already has a few “originals” on the service, including Skam, a serialized teen drama from Norway. The show is “built for Facebook,” say the boys. Characters, for example, will be shown signaling they’ll be attending an upcoming party or event; at two in the morning, you’ll see them at the event live. Characters are also shown interacting with each other on Instagram.

The duo had tips for folks hoping to get in on the Facebook Watch action. The first thing they suggested was that your content should activate communities. The example given was the new FB series Return the Favor, hosted by that guy who’s always walking around in TV ads with that baseball cap on, Mike Rowe. Rowe visits veterans, teachers and other neighbourhood do-gooders, giving back to those who give all the time.

On one episode, the MIPCOM audience packed into the Grand theatre were told, Mike rewarded that show’s subject with some brand new power tools. Because this played live on Facebook, a thief was watching and looted the guy’s garage the next day. Rowe reported the news on his next episode and within minutes, according to Van Veen, donations flooded in to the robbed man’s inbox.

The idea is to eventually roll out Watch world wide. The borderless business of television continues unabated.

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