Facebook wants to keep engagement going on its platform, and considering just how much video is consumed on the social network, one way to help with that is by making it an even more social endeavor.
Real-time communication and view parties aren’t all that new, considering how platforms like Twitch have skyrocketed into the public consciousness. And Facebook wants in on some of that idea with what it calls “Watch Party”. This isn’t a streaming platform or anything like that, but simply a way for you and your contact list/friends/family to watch a video together and also comment in real-time on what you’re seeing.
To kick things off, Facebook users need to simply head into the Groups section, select the new “Watch Party” icon, and then chooses which videos to add to the group. Once that’s done, they can even write a message for the group, so that when people are added they can see it. The host will then be able to add contacts and friends to the watch party, and everyone can start watching the videos that were added together.
At some point in the future, Facebook says Watch Parties will support watching videos together and adding real-time comments outside of Groups, too.
Some interesting insight about Watch Party from Facebook and today’s announcement:
“In our testing, we’ve seen Watch Parties, both big and small, with highly engaged members often generating hundreds or even thousands of comments while watching videos together. There were even groups that dedicated more than 10 hours to a single Watch Party, with different members coming in and out throughout the day.
We’ve heard Watch Party can be useful for smaller communities, too. For example, recently a group with less than 10 people recently hosted a Watch Party with more than 500 comments. Some describe how this shared viewing experience can be used to bridge distance between close friends and family when they can’t physically be together. Imagine sitting down to watch a loved one’s graduation video with your extended family when they couldn’t be there in person, reliving a vacation by sharing videos and swapping memories, or even just hanging out with friends watching funny videos together. The possibilities are endless.”
The company is also hosting a “Weekend of Watch Parties” that kicks off Friday, July 27, and will run until Sunday, July 29. Brands are going to be part of the mix, too, including “Jamie Oliver’s 5-Day Veggie Challenge Group”, “Buzzfeed’s Tasty Group”, and others.
Up to this point, Facebook has been putting a lot of its focus on Instagram, with the photo- and video-centric social platform getting a host of new features lately, including the ability to see when your contacts are online to chat via Direct. However, Facebook itself recently expanded the translate feature within Messenger, and the company recently announced a new, dedicated “Memories” page for when you want to catch up on content you’ve shared on the social network over the years.
This is an interesting idea, even if it isn’t altogether new by any means. The fact you need to start a Group to kick things off might make it a bit hard to discover for some Facebook users, but eventually, when the company expands the feature, it could be fun to get a group together and watch movie trailers — especially during events like San Diego Comic-Con and other festivals.