- Rotten Tomatoes, the movie review website owned by Fandango, next week will debut its first show on Faceboook Watch, the social network's platform for episodic video programming. Starting on Nov. 1, "Rotten Tomatoes See It/Skip It" will be available every Thursday on Facebook's mobile, desktop and TV apps, according to a press release.
- Show hosts Jacqueline Coley, a film critic for the Black Girl Nerds website, and pop culture commentator Segun Oduolowu will offer their unvarnished opinions about movies, TV and current topics, and also urge Facebook Watch viewers to share their thoughts and reactions.
- The new show follows Rotten Tomatoes' "Your Opinion Sucks: Critics vs. Fans" live event series that lets people share their thoughts with professional film and TV critics.
For Rotten Tomatoes, Facebook Watch opens up the possibility of reaching a massive viewership, as Facebook now has over 2 billion users that are more frequently turning away from traditional cable and broadcast TV. The hosts will ask live viewers for thoughts on what they're enjoying and what they aren't, with the chance to have those viewpoints incorporated into the show in real-time. This move will likely boost interaction and provide valuable feedback for future weekly episodes.
These elements underscore why marketers and media outlets might value Facebook Watch over other channels like TV or even Google's YouTube. Facebook puts an emphasis on social connections first and can more directly integrate those into premium video content to create a distinct and engaging viewing experience. Most viewers already spend part of their time watching video programming on smartphones in a habit known as second screening, and Watch potentially melds those activities closer together.
At the same time, the move gives Rotten Tomatoes the opportunity to expand its reach outside of its own website. Ben Lerer, CEO of Group Nine Media, this week said Facebook Watch provides a meritocracy for content producers like his company, which runs websites Thrillist, NowThis, The Dodo and Seeker.
“If you make great content, people will see it,” he said in a conversation on TheStreet.com. “With traditional media, a lot of distribution was sort of granted through partnerships, through carriage rights. And now, you have this world where quality is very important, and there's more transparency to that."
Facebook Watch is in the early stages of building out its platform, investing in content and getting advertisers on board with mid-roll ad breaks that replicate the feeling of a TV commercial. The biggest unknown is whether content producers will be able to make money off the tab through Facebook's eventual revenue-sharing model.
Facebook isn't the only social platform looking to partner with brands like Rotten Tomatoes in a growing trend toward video. Snapchat and Twitter and are among the major companies creating more original video content to keep users engaged. YouTube Red also provides financing for several original series, giving bigger budgets to some of its top content creators. Snapchat, which started by producing shows in-house, is now focused on partnerships with studios and media entities for original, vertical video content.