Facebook is testing a new video subscription service in Watch. You'd be forgiven for confusing this news with the announcement of "fan subscriptions," which Facebook made last month, but no, video subscriptions is an entirely separate thing.
Fan subscriptions was built for people to support their favorite creators, and to give them access to exclusive content -- according to Facebook, most creators using fan subscriptions are new to the subscription business model. Video subscriptions, on the other hand, are designed to support publishers with existing video-streaming businesses and an existing video catalog.
The platform has teamed up with CollegeHumor and other partners including BritBoxTV, MotorTrend On Demand and Tastemade Plus to test the new model, which Facebook says blends the traditional video streaming experience with the social community aspects of Facebook. According to the PR blurb, "When a video subscription is purchased through Facebook, the content and conversation for fan-favorite shows can happen in one place, with opportunities to start or join Watch Parties or talk with other fans about episodes directly on the platform." CollegeHumour's catalog of DROPOUT originals are available on Facebook now -- you can sign up for a free trial, or take out a subscription starting at $4.99 a month. Over on dropout.tv, meanwhile, subscriptions start at $3.99 per month with an annual package.
While it certainly might seem that Facebook is moving towards a paid model for video, a Facebook spokesperson has confirmed that's not the case. "Our intention with exploring video subscriptions is to support a new business model that could help bring more great content to Facebook," they said. "Watch will always be a platform supported by a range of business models, like Ad Breaks, and the vast majority of content in Watch is free and ad-supported."