Facebook Watch is going after an audience that watches more TV the old-fashioned way

A reboot of the MTV reality show “The Real World” is one of the new shows coming to Facebook Watch.
A reboot of the MTV reality show “The Real World” is one of the new shows coming to Facebook Watch.
Image: AP Photo/Matt Sayles
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Many people still aren’t watching Facebook Watch, the social network’s hub for TV-style video. So, the company is setting its sights on an audience that watches even less video online.

Facebook is recalibrating its approach to video in search of shows aimed at people ages 30 and older, rather than the teens and younger millennials rivals like YouTube have successfully wooed, CNBC reported this week. The social network, which has been losing its cachet with younger Americans, is starting to focus its video efforts more on older millennials. “In talks with at least three media companies, Facebook has hinted it wants Watch shows aimed at post-college millennials around parenting age and older,” CNBC wrote, adding that the platform is also buying fewer shows than when it launched in 2017. Shows like MTV’s The Real World reboot, which appeals to nostalgic Gen Xers and older millennials, are part of the effort.

CNBC cited the loss of interest in Facebook among teens, and the slow adoption of Watch, as some of the trends driving this shift. Facebook wasn’t immediately available to comment for Quartz.

While this age group may spend more time on Facebook, people over 30 don’t watch as much video online as their younger counterparts do. It could present an added challenge for the social network as it tries to grow its video platform—and video advertising revenue.

In US households capable of streaming video to a TV set (by using devices like smart TVs or streaming media players), just 11% of total TV usage was from streaming video among people aged 35 to 49, research firm Nielsen found in its latest audience report. Younger age groups, like adults aged 18 to 34, spent as much as 23% of their total TV time streaming video.

To be sure, these people could have been streaming video on devices other than TV sets, such as their smartphones. But audiences over the age of 30 also spent more time on average consuming live and time-shifted TV—traditional content recorded on DVRs, or on-demand—than their younger counterparts, Nielsen’s report showed.

Facebook has a tough task ahead of it to convince these people to not only watch more content on Watch, but to stream more video in general.

Want a better understanding Facebook and its streaming-video rivals? Check out our guide to the streaming-TV wars.