December 12, 2018
Whether it involves movies, sports events or in-the-moment activities — sharing the experience with friends can make it more enjoyable. This is what Facebook is reportedly testing with its “Watch Videos Together” feature. This feature includes the ability to watch a video within a Messenger group chat while simultaneously commenting, discussing and joking about it. Earlier this year, Facebook launched its Watch Party. Facebook is now potentially expanding its concept of the Watch Party to Messenger, the popular instant messaging app and platform.
This feature was first identified in the code to “chat about the same videos at the same time.” TechCrunch reached out to Facebook and has confirmed that this feature is only being tested internally for now. However, it is predicted that an official launch is soon to come.
Currently, in the landscape of viewing content online, there are only a few options to experience the watching of videos with other people on different devices. Platforms like YouTube and Twitch make it incredibly easy to feel immersed in the environment of the content. However, the interaction mainly comes in the form of comments or a chat box.
As a social media platform, Facebook’s Watch Party has created a seamless experience to real time interactions. This allows for Facebook group members to actively watch and comment on videos together.
This feature could transform solo viewing habits into communal experiences. This could also encourage users to spend more time in the Facebook Messenger app and create positive experiences.
What videos will people be watching with their friends? TechCrunch predicts that, “users will find videos to watch. It might just let you punch in a URL from Facebook or share a video from there to Messenger. The app could put a new video browsing option into the message composer or Discover tab. Or, if it really wanted to get serious about chat-based co-viewing, Facebook could allow the feature to work with video partners, ideally YouTube.”
Another perspective is that of live sports and how this feature would impact those experiences. SportTechie suggests that “most want to self-select their viewing companions, whether that’s through a classic Facebook news feed, a Twitter timeline, or from a couch in front of the TV. If ‘Watch Videos Together’ works well, that could be a boon for Facebook’s live sports experience. The community and connectivity of social video can lead to viral moments, and providing fans the choice to curate their viewing community will likely appeal to many.”
Watch Videos Together would align closely with Facebook’s mission “to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.” By integrating this community-oriented feature into Facebook Messenger, it could increase connectivity in the digital space.