Last year, Facebook launched its video-on-demand service in the United States. Known as Facebook Watch, the service became available to all users globally this year in August. But that’s not all that Facebook has for video lovers.
The social network now introduces a new feature for Facebook Watch. Dubbed as Facebook Watch Party, it provides a fun co-viewing experience online.
If you are a newbie to Facebook Watch Party, here are 14 interesting things that you should know about it. But before that let’s first understand the new feature in detail.
What is Facebook Watch Party
Remember how you used to call people to your home to watch a movie together? Well, some of us still do that. But what if your friends are not in the same city? How do you watch a video together? Sure, you can just play a video on your respective devices and chat about it on any chat app, but that doesn’t give a proper feel of watching it together.
That's where Facebook Watch Party steps into the game. It provides a shared viewing experience where the participants can watch and comment on Facebook videos in real time. All this interaction and co-watching of the video happens on a single screen of Facebook.
1. How Does it Work
Similar to real life parties, the host invites people to watch videos together in Facebook Watch Party. The host is the one that creates a party. So once you create a Watch Party, you will be able to view other members and have a discussion with them about the video. The members can react and add real-time comments on the video.
Earlier the feature was available only to Facebook Groups, but now Pages and personal profiles also have access to this feature.
3. Create Facebook Watch Party
To start a Facebook Watch Party on mobile devices, tap on the Create post area. Then select Watch Party from the list of options.
On PC, go to the Create post area. Then click on the three-dot icon and select Watch Party. The steps are the same for profiles, Pages, and Groups.
4. Add or Edit Party Title
The Party title is important, as it will help others to know what they will be watching without joining the Party. It is the first option that Facebook offers you when you start a Watch Party. The title isn’t permanent as you can edit it anytime even once the Party is live.
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5. Supported Videos
Here comes the main question. What kind of videos can you add to the party? Well, you can add any public Facebook video to your party. The video can be a live video or a video as old as two years. The only requirement is that it should be public on Facebook. In the case of Groups and Pages, you can add your old uploaded videos as well.
Facebook has categorized the videos into categories like Live, Saved, Suggested, Watched, and Search. You can search for new videos under the Search category.
6. Video Source
Unfortunately, you can only add Facebook videos to the Watch Party. Currently, Facebook doesn’t let you add videos from other sources like Netflix, YouTube, etc. It would have been a great addition if that was allowed.
7. Multiple Videos
Facebook Watch Party isn’t limited to a single video alone. Facebook lets you add multiple videos to your party. You can create a queue of videos where they will play one after another. You can add or remove videos after creating the party as well.
8. Add Co-hosts
In case you are busy or might have to step away during the Watch Party, Facebook has got your back. It lets you add co-host to your Parties. They can add new videos to the queue and control the video.
9. End Watch Party
You have to end the Party manually after the session is over. And if you forget to do that, all the videos will still be available to the members. However, Facebook will end the video itself after some time if you don't take any action.
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10. Watch Party vs. Facebook Live
Many of you must be wondering — what’s the difference between Facebook Live and Watch Party? In simple words, Facebook Live is a new video captured in real time while Watch Party uses old Facebook videos that already exist on the platform.
It converts an existing Facebook video to a live experience or creates a live session for old videos. Interestingly, you can have a Watch Party for public live videos as well. That's a bit similar to what Twitch offers.
11. Who Can Watch the Party
In the case of Groups and Pages, all members can watch the party. On the personal profile, you can restrict the visibility by playing with the post privacy settings.
For instance, if I want to watch a video with just my close friends, I will set the privacy visibility for the post to specific friends only. Later, you can invite and add more members as well.
12. Can Participants Suggest Videos
Yes, if you have been invited to a Facebook Watch Party, you can suggest videos to the host. It’s their wish whether they want to add those videos to the queue or not.
13. Who Controls the Video
In Facebook Watch Party, everyone doesn’t have the power to control videos. Only the host and the co-host can pause, play, forward, or rewind a video. Basically, when the host controls the video, it also affects other viewers on the party.
14. Is Recap Available
Similar to Live videos, a recap of the Watch Party will be saved as a post. Users who have access to the post will be able to see the videos watched during the party. They won’t be able to see the real-time action that happened while you were watching the video but will only be able to see the original videos that were played in the party.
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Let the Party Begin
Facebook Watch Party is a yet another attempt by the social network to capture the video segment. It may take some time for users to get used to it. While I enjoy watching content alone and this feature doesn’t add much to my Facebook experience, I know people who cannot watch movies alone. This feature might be a life-changing thing for them as they can now watch videos in real-time with a person sitting in any corner of the world.
Do let us know your thoughts about the Watch Party in the comments below.