This is interesting - Facebook has announced the launch of a new video series, hosted by Post Malone, which it will make exclusively available on Messenger and Instagram via the Watch Together option, which it rolled out back in September.
Watch Together enables users to stream Facebook-hosted video content within a Messenger video call, which can include up to 50 people at once.
To launch a Watch Together stream, you start a Messenger video call as normal, or create a Messenger Room, then swipe up to access the menu and select "Watch Together".
As you can see here, you can then select the video content you want to watch in your group.
Facebook notes that Watch Together is now also available to users who've opted into the new Messenger experience on Instagram, which combines your Instagram Direct and Messenger interactions.
And now, it's adding the new Post Malone show - which, seemingly, won't be available within Facebook itself, nor via Facebook Watch direct.
"Post Malone’s Celebrity World Pong League will be a 10 episode series airing on Wednesdays and Fridays, featuring Post Malone going head-to-head against his celebrity friends including Doja Cat, Machine Gun Kelly, Quavo, and Saweetie in a battle to become the World Pong Champion. The first episode pits Post Malone against Tyla Yaweh and Machine Gun Kelly and will be available on November 18th."
That could be a good way to get more users trying out the Watch Together functionality, and with more than 150 million video calls conducted on Messenger every day, and more than 200 million videos sent via the messaging app, it seems like it should be a natural progression for many users, in terms of enhancing engagement and hanging out (virtually) with friends.
And if Facebook can get more people viewing video content via Messenger (and Instagram), that could add a whole new pathway for video promotion and distribution, and another way to boost Facebook Watch viewership.
Celebrity-lead programming like this lends itself to fan discussion, and by providing a way to view such within dedicated groups, that could be a better way to spark further engagement and interaction, boosting the popularity of the content.
It's an interesting experiment, which could play more to Facebook's strengths, in regards to tying more social elements into the video-viewing experience.