Facebook is doubling down on “Watch Party,” expanding the social-video feature to all publishers and users worldwide — which Facebook says delivers far higher engagement levels than solo sessions.
Since Facebook launched Watch Party to all Groups in July 2018, more than 12 million Watch Parties have been streamed, letting everyone watch the same video at the same time and comment in real time. The key metric, according to the company: concurrent-viewing Watch Parties have generated eight times as many comments as non-live videos in Groups.
Now Facebook wants to fuel social video watching by launching Watch Party to all Pages and users. Starting Tuesday, any Facebook user can start a Watch Party with friends directly from a video they’re watching or launch a Watch Party from their Timeline.
Leading up to the broader launch, the company has been testing new Watch Party features with select media partners.
Wrestling-entertainment producer WWE has been using Watch Party for repeats of its live Mixed Match Challenge mashup show featuring Raw and SmackDown Live talent. The live show runs on Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET, exclusively on Facebook Watch. To reach fans outside the U.S., WWE has been re-airing the previous night’s episode using Watch Party.
In addition, BuzzFeed’s Facebook Page hosted a Watch Party to promote the new season of original food show “Worth It,” featuring episodes from past seasons for fans to binge-watch together.
Facebook also is enhancing Watch Party with new features it developed based on partner feedback. That includes the ability to schedule co-viewing sessions; adding the ability to provide live commentary during playback; and threaded discussions within a Watch Party.
Former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal is one of the first to use the newest Watch Party features. On Wednesday (Nov. 28), Shaq will host a Watch Party from his Page (which has 6 million followers) to replay his favorite episodes from his reality series “Big Chicken Shaq,” providing live play-by-play via the new Live Commentating feature.
More info on how to host a Watch Party is available in Facebook’s Help Center at this link.