You might not have heard about Facebook Watch, but that won’t stop Facebook from adding more and more features to it. Launched yesterday, Watch Party is a co-viewing feature that allows users to see and comment on the same video simultaneously, and it is now available to all Pages, profiles, worldwide.
Formerly, Watch Party was only available to Groups, with limited testing with other types of accounts. And now, any user or business can post a Watch Party invite to sync up with their friends or customer base.
Although Facebook Watch will never be YouTube
Facebook Watch still is not the YouTube alternative that the tech giants want it to be. As CNBC reports, Facebook is pivoting to an older audience as it’s losing the younger market to apps like Instagram. The company might be hoping that the shared experience of commenting real time on clips could recapture that audience, but it’s a losing battle already. More extended video viewing is not something that users associate with Facebook right now.
There are a few other tricks that are being tested to eke out the life support that Watch is currently on. Pages and Groups will be able to schedule Watch Parties, which might prove to be popular with live streamers or other Internet celebrities. But if the comment stream gets busy, it will start threading so you can follow it easily. That is one that that live streaming services like YouTube or Twitch have not figured out yet.
More Features with Watch Parties
One other feature that might prove a hit with celebrities is allowing Watch Party hosts live picture-in-picture so they can commentate in real-time. Fans might love the feel of watching TV with their favourite celebs. Shaquille O’Neal will be using the Live Commenting feature on his Facebook Page today.
Taken on their own, the statistics for Watch Party so far seem pretty impressive. With 12 million Watch Parties started Groups. Eight times the commenting versus non-Live/synced videos, and seven times more daily Watch Parties in Groups since the feature rolled out in July. Given that Facebook’s billion monthly users, however, the uptake of Watch Parties is just a tiny drop in the ocean. With the company’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg stating that “expansion in the video, messaging and Stories” is vital in their last earnings call, they will have to find a way to leverage that user base into active audience participants.
Perhaps an upcoming update to allow Watch Party-like-co-viewing inside Messenger will prove to be the killer application. It certainly feels like a natural home to many users.
Let us know what you think about the Facebook Watch Party. Are you going to be a part of it? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.