With people looking for new ways to connect amid the COVID-19 lockdowns, Facebook recently announced a new 'Watch Together' feature for Messenger, which enables Messenger users to host video watch parties, via video call or Messenger Rooms, with up to 50 friends at a time within the app.
As you can see in this sequence, with 'Watch Together', users can simply choose from a selection of video content, then broadcast that show or movie direct to all participants, providing another way to engage while physically separated.
And now, Facebook's adding a lot more content to it's Watch Together listings, by establishing new deals with distribution giants Lionsgate, Sony Pictures Entertainment, and Warner Bros., in order to provide movies, TV shows and more within your Watch Together options.
As explained by Facebook:
"Now people can tune in together, even if they’re not, and check out features like Fruitvale Station, Hairspray, and Reservoir Dogs, just to name a few, with hits like Madea’s Family Reunion, and Karate Kid coming soon. Or, maybe binge watch a season of Community or Dawson’s Creek with your besties. And with Halloween coming up, get into the spooky spirit with selections like The Blair Witch Project, The Descent or The Grudge 2."
That could provide a big boost for the option. Facebook hasn't provided specific details on the new content arrangements, but you would expect that Facebook has a system in place to pay these providers, in order to provide this content via Watch Together. That could help to boost overall viewership, which will then enable Facebook to promote its own, exclusive Facebook Watch content within the same streams, and further boost awareness of its video offerings.
Despite Watch seemingly not making a huge impact in the digital video stakes, Facebook says that more than 1.25 billion people visit Watch every month, and it recently outlined a range of new, exclusive shows that will soon be made available on Watch to further boost that engagement.
Watch Together provides another avenue to promote these programs - and with more than 150 million video calls now being conducted via Messenger every day, as people look to stay connected as best they can across the world, it makes sense for Facebook to try out new ways to maximize that engagement, and align with user interests.
And from a business perspective, that's also worth considering. You could create content designed to be watched in a group, like an exercise session or baking instructional, which you could promote as a Watch Together experience. These new content additions will likely help to further boost the option, and it could be another element to keep on your radar as you map out our next strategic steps.