August 25, 2017
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Facebook Unveils Flagship Original Show & It Makes Perfect Sense

A new era of video has begun and 'Humans of New York' will lead the way.

Two weeks ago, Facebook launched its "premium video service", cleverly titled "Watch", and today its flagship program has been revealed. The show will be a video adaptation of the hugely popular Humans of New York blog run by photographer Brandon Stanton.

For those unfamiliar with the blog, Stanton roams the streets for interesting New Yorkers, takes their portraits, and shares excerpts of interviews with them to his millions of followers online. Of course, there are a ton of characters in NYC and their stories make for some pretty compelling stuff; Stanton really digs deep to find the best details from each subject.

His Facebook series will tell more of these tales across 12 half-hour episodes. The show will be produced by Weiner director Julie Goldman and is the result of over 400 days of filming and more than 1,200 interviews. 

When we discussed the new service on Indie Film Weekly a few weeks ago, we were a little confused as to how the social media giant would eclipse the internet's one true video hub: YouTube. Programming like this makes the company's strategy a little more apparent: Humans of New York would be nothing without Facebook. The platform elevated Brandon Stanton's work and provided him with the perfect outlet for his photography. Videography certainly seems like the logical next step.

According to TubeFilter, the Humans of New York official Facebook page has more than 18 million followers, and it counts more than seven million fans on Facebook-owned Instagram. Therefore, Stanton commands a built-in audience that could instantly make Humans of New York  the most popular show distributed through its new "Watch" tab.

This is a promising sign for creators who have taken advantage of Facebook's native video exhibition capability from the get-go. It seems that—much like in the way it prioritizes videos uploaded through its own video player over those posted via YouTube—Facebook will prioritize pitches from creators who primarily use Facebook as the outlet for their content.

"Humans of New York:

While the ability to create shows for Watch is currently limited to a small group of users, Facebook will soon open up its platform for all users to create shows. Prospective creators can apply here.  These shows will be shared through new "Show Pages," which feature descriptions, all episodes and related videos, and other community-building tools.

After its initial roll-out, creators can look forward to monetizing their work through Ad Breaks, in a similar fashion to YouTube. Creators are entitled to a 55% share of any ad earnings, and Facebook will get the rest.      

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