Facebook’s Watch Party feature has been around for awhile, but it wasn’t available for all pages and people until today. That’s a big deal for content creators and media giants, as it may offer a profitable alternative to traditional broadcasting.
Hold On, What is a Watch Party?
Facebook has gone through a lot of changes in the past year. The company has started to focus on community-building features, like Groups and Group Chats, because they generate more traffic and user engagement than typical posts and content pages. Earlier this year, Facebook quietly rolled out the Watch Party feature, which essentially allows Groups to stream a playlist of videos and talk about them in a chatbox. Until today, the feature could only be used by Groups, not by people or pages.
So Watch Party lets people watch TV together? Well, not really. See, the Watch Party service is similar to Youtube Live or Rabbit, but it’s limited to videos that are already on Facebook. That restricts users from watching popular TV shows and movies together because most media corporations and content creators aren’t willing to post their content on Facebook for other people to distribute for free. Facebook is trying to change that by allowing people and pages to host their own public Watch Parties. They think that content creators and media giants are more likely to post engaging content on Facebook if they can control when and how users see it.
People and Pages Will Host Watch Parties that are Worth Your Time
Facebook has been quietly testing Watch Parties for Pages. You may have binge-watched Buzzfeed’s Worth It on a Facebook Watch Party, or tuned into Benedetta Rossi’s Watch Party cooking show series. Those campaigns have gone quite well, and they’ve generated a lot more engagement than non-live videos. It’s proof that niche content and influencer videos can benefit from Facebook’s Watch Parties feature.
But the WWE’s Watch Party campaign has got to be the most exciting, as it shows how TV shows and sports may find their way onto Watch Parties in the future. The WWE livestreams wrestling matches on Facebook every Tuesday, but international wrestling fans can rarely catch the livestream. That’s why the WWE has been re-airing their matches in Watch Parties that target different time zones, and they’ve seen a lot of success doing so. If other sporting events and TV shows aired Watch Parties, they could reach an international online audience without compromising their control over the content or their advertising revenue. In fact, they could potentially generate more revenue than they make on traditional broadcasting.
Of course, Watch Parties are still great for people and Groups. There may not be a lot of TV on Facebook (yet), but there’s still a lot of interesting and niche content that you can enjoy with your friends. If you’re feeling the Watch Party itch, you can start your own Watch Party from the “Write a post” box at the top of your feed. Facebook will prompt you to queue up some videos, and your friends and followers will be notified that you’ve started a watch party.