By Sahil Patel.
People would rather watch multi-episode video shows and other serialized programming than one-off videos, publishers are finding, which bodes well for Facebook’s new TV-like tab, Watch.
Mashable, for instance, has a show called “Art Of The Scene,” which looks at famous movie scenes. The episodes can run for 10 minutes or longer. On Facebook, the series has twice the average watch time of Mashable’s non-serialized, standalone Facebook videos, according to the publisher. Three other Mashable series, “Sharp Science,” “Bad Days” and “Scamalot,” have an average watch time two or three times longer than its non-serialized videos, the company said.
Those numbers have led Mashable to create themed playlists around its standalone videos. For instance, videos about technology and services that make people’s lives easier are now grouped under the “Operate Yourself” playlist. Mashable Studios president Eric Korsh said the publisher plans to create more themed playlists filled with the short clips it’s making for Facebook every day.
News and issues publisher Attn, meanwhile, has found similar results with its monthly video series “America Versus,” which compares U.S. policies to those in other countries. Views and shares for “America Versus” average 30 times what Attn gets for its one-off Facebook videos, the company said.
“We have been doing [the monthly release for ‘America Versus’] for well over a year, and we’re seeing huge dividends,” said Matthew Segal, co-founder of Attn. “It’s led us to believe that serialized programming on Facebook not only can but does and will work.”
Serialized programming could be an answer to one of Facebook’s biggest problems, which is that people are spending less time on its platform. People — especially younger people — are spending more time on Instagram and Snapchat, leading Facebook to launch products such as Facebook Live and Facebook Watch, which are designed to get people to watch longer videos. The average watch time for Facebook Live videos is three times that of on-demand clips, according to Tubular Labs.
Some publishers argue that serialized, multi-episode programming can boost engagement on Facebook.
Babe, a women-focused publisher from The Tab, has an animated video series called “Is It Just Me?” that depicts text conversations between characters. The average “Is It Just Me?” episode gets more than 129,000 engagements (likes, comments and shares), which is eight times the average number of engagements for standalone Babe videos. What’s more, 60 percent of the show’s Facebook views lasted 30 seconds or longer during its first season (episodes of “Is It Just Me?” range one to two minutes in length).