Facebook’s latest attempt to get users to spend more time on the platform can be seen in the global launch of their new product, Watch Party.
It aims to streamline a form of communal watching that will allow people to watch the same videos at the same time as members of the Facebook group they belong to. The host of the party can add videos to the watch list, and other members can interact in real time through comments and such.
The ability to watch the same video simultaneously as others when not in the same location has always been a desired one, and streaming services are jumping in on the chance to milk it. Facebook and Instagram’s live-streaming option is being consumed by users successfully enough for the giant to roll out a method that will allow them to not only share live moments, but also just non-specific, pre-recorded videos that a host would want to experience with their group members.
As of now, this feature is only available within Facebook groups, and any member of one can initiate it—though Facebook has announced its aim to eventually expand this experience to pages and individual profiles as well. The member can then appoint a co-host who can also regulate the controls and add to the playlist. Crowdsourcing is another feature within it that basically allows anyone to suggest a video for the party to watch together. Group participants will get a notification when the party (the video) is about to start.
Facebook revealed that during the testing phase, certain groups watched up to ten hours of video, with members entering and exiting the party throughout the day.
Another limitation is that one can view only Facebook videos at the Watch Party, other streaming services, for instance a YouTube video, can’t be shared in this manner.