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Facebook is entering the TV arena with a new television app it plans to roll out soon.
The app, which will be available for Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Samsung Smart TV, will allow users to watch videos shared by friends or pages they follow, live videos from around the world and recommended videos based on their interests.
“Facebook’s success in transforming itself into a video-centric platform, coupled with its massive worldwide user base, makes its entry into the TV app space potentially disruptive,” said eMarketer senior analyst Paul Verna.
But the market is already fiercely competitive, dominated by players like YouTube, Netflix, Amazon and Hulu.
Though Facebook has specialized in shorter-form clips and live feeds, it will need to be able to develop, or exclusively license, shows that lend themselves to home viewing and large audiences, Verna said. If not, Facebook might find itself a niche player in an increasingly crowded field.
eMarketer estimates that Netflix will reach 128 million users in the US this year, followed by Amazon with 85.3 million and Hulu with 32 million. In the realm of shorter content—which may be more in line with the Facebook app—YouTube will reach 185.9 million US users.
“OTT video giants are serving viewers the types of content they typically expect to see on a TV screen, and that includes premium quality TV shows, original content and movies,” said Monica Peart, eMarketer’s senior director of forecasting. “Facebook has the unique challenge of supplanting major video platforms—which have already become synonymous with TV in many respects—in the minds of its users.”
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