Facebook is making its video streaming more social with the launch of Watch Party.
Watch Party is a way for people to watch videos on Facebook together in real time. Once a Watch Party is started, participants can watch videos, live or recorded, and interact with one another around them in the same moment.
“We’ve been encouraged by feedback from groups using Watch Party as we’ve been testing and rolling out. We’ve heard from group leaders that they’re excited to use Watch Party for things like: hosting Q&As around particular hobbies such as cooking or crafting, sharing behind the scenes details of a video, swapping tips and tricks for things like home improvement, decorating, or makeup tutorials with members in real time, learning new things like a workout technique or musical skills, and inviting special guests to join their Watch Party,” says Erin Connolly, Product Manager at Facebook.
Facebook’s testing has seen groups generate hundreds or even thousands of comments while watching videos together, with some lasting more than 10 hours to a single Watch Party, as different members signed in and out throughout the day. Facebook is keen to foster that sense of community that has long been a key driver of YouTube’s success – and with its social network already in place, Facebook is hoping to harness those connections to boost engagement with its fledgling Facebook Watch video platform.
“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,” adds Connolly.
After a period of testing, this weekend sees Watch Party go global, with users around the world now able to co-host a Watch Party – allowing them to add videos – and also crowdsource videos, so that anyone in the group can suggest videos for the host to add.
To celebrate the global rollout, Facebook has lined up a Weekend of Watch Parties, with Facebook Groups around the world hosting Watch Parties to connect their communities from 27th to 29th July. Participants include Buzzfeed’s Tasty Group, which will focus cooking tips and roast dinner recipes, and Jamie Oliver’s 5-day Veggie Challenge, which will host a Watch Party for some of Jamie’s favorite veggie recipe videos.
Facebook next plans to rollout the feature to users who aren’t in groups, so they can start Watch Parties with friends. Watch Parties for Pages are also being considered.