Facebook Watch failed to capture viewers with its content, so it hopes to differentiate itself through the company's main strength: the social. Today Facebook launches completely Party Party, its joint viewing function where users can see and comment on the same video at the same time, for all profiles and pages around the world.
Watch Party was previously launched in Groups and was in trials with other types of accounts. But now any profile or company can post an invitation to the Watch party to synchronize with other users and, at the same time, watch the videos they have discovered on Facebook.
Watch's content line is still lackluster compared to YouTube, Netflix or even Snapchat Discover. CNBC reports that Facebook is giving up the youngest teenagers who are already abandoning their application, and is turning the video center towards a larger audience. Facebook hopes that an experience shared with users who comment on the clips together can make Watch more attractive, but it's a really new behavior that can be difficult to inculcate.
Facebook is also testing some other tricks to spice up Watch. Pages and groups can schedule a surveillance party to attract more viewers, perhaps by organizing a nightly meeting. Watch Parties with lots of activity will have their comments linked to make it easier to follow the discussions.
And, what's more interesting, Facebook will try to allow the Watch Party hosts to make live images so they can comment in real time. This could be a hit among celebrities, as it will make users feel like they are sitting next to them watching TV together. Basketball star Shaq will test the live comment feature through his page tomorrow.
The Watch Party statistics sound impressive, with 12 million initiated in groups so far, 7X more daily parties in groups per day since its launch in July and 8X more comments than in non-live / synchronized videos. The pages are using it to allow fans to see the playlists of their old videos, play their TV content for users in different time zones, and allow fans to ask each other and the host questions about recipes while cooking.
But given Facebook's 2 billion total monthly users, more than a billion users of Groups, and the fact that measuring growth in multiples is easy when you start with a low number, the characteristic clearly still He has not reached the zeitgeist.
Perhaps the best hope for Watch and Watch The party is a feature in which TechCrunch broke the news last week. Facebook is now internally testing a Watch Party co-visualization feature within Messenger. Putting the option in the chat can be much more natural, especially in group texts.
Facebook has been trying desperately to change the behavior of video consumption from passive zombie visualization to interactive and social interaction with other viewers. But that only works if the content is convincing.
Beyond a reboot of MTV's The Real World, nothing in Watch really stands out. It is possible that Facebook must open its wallet and pay big for more shows of tent poles to attract users and expect them to be lost when commenting on clips with similar friends and minds.