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Facebook competes with YouTube with all-new “Showcase”

On Tuesday, the social media company announced the introduction of Facebook Showcase, a new premium advertising program which comes alongside the recently introduced In-Stream Reserve feature.

Facebook has announced the launching of a new advertising program in a bid to increase its rate of revenue being earned from Facebook Watch, its primary video-content feature.

Unveiled in September last year, In-Stream reserve allows brands to secure spots from a pre-selected list of video creators and to purchase content packages in specific categories. Showcase adds to the In-Stream Reserve platform by allowing marketers to purchase spots within Facebook Watch in advance at a specified cost for up to a year, in a style similar to “upfront” gatherings hosted yearly by television networks for commercial advertisers. Advertisers can now exclusively sponsor programs for U.S. viewers as well.

In cooperation with Nielsen via its Target Rating Points system, Facebook intends to make sure that ads purchased on the new platform only appear alongside premium video content in specific categories.

At a press event held in New York, Facebook’s head of North American agency sales, Erik Geisler, stressed that Showcase would provide marketers access to “brand-safe” video content. He added that all videos would be reviewed by humans before becoming eligible for monetization on the Showcase program.

The launching of Showcase comes a week after several ads were pulled out from Youtube after being shown alongside offensive content.

Despite two-thirds of news shows on Facebook Watch set be dropped, optimism has been expressed regarding Showcase’s appeal to a younger demographic, with Facebook stating that 43 percent of U.S. viewers who viewed In-Stream Reserve content in the past three months comprised mostly of users between the ages of 18 and 34.

In line with the launching of Showcase, Matthew Henick, Head of Facebook’s Planning and Content Strategy, provided details on two new shows set to be shown on Facebook Watch. Among them is the licensing of past seasons of the 90s MTV reality hit “The Real World” (which has been scheduled for a reboot this year) for viewing on the Watch platform. The upcoming release of an animated comedy series starring Zac Efron and Anna Kendrick titled “Human Discoveries” has also been announced.

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