By Paresh Rajwat, Head of Video Products & Tamara Hrivnak, Head of Music Business Development & Partnerships
Today at SXSW, we’re sharing updates on how we’re bringing people together around video and music on Facebook — from Original shows to new features for Watch Party, and more ways to share music.
Building Community Through Content: Red Table Talk & More
Facebook Watch is the place where community, conversation and content come together. We’re investing in content that sparks conversations and interactions, whether that’s with your friends, other fans or even the stars of the show. Today we’re excited to announce that we will be bringing more than 20 new episodes of Red Table Talk to fans, starting this May. As we shared in December, Original shows on Watch should strike a chord in the broader cultural zeitgeist or serve a group of people with something they can’t get elsewhere. The women of Red Table Talk — Jada Pinkett Smith, her daughter Willow, and mother Adrienne — have done that through their candid conversations about things like addiction, loss, domestic violence, race relations and more, sharing their truths and involving their audience along the way. This culminated with the recent episode featuring Jordyn Woods, which broke records as the most-viewed Facebook Original episode in the first 24 hours — 7.5 million people watched for more than one minute on that first day, with more than 800,000 interactions (likes, comments, reactions, shares) in just the first 72 hours.
We’re also happy to welcome another member of the Smith family to Facebook Watch: last month, Will Smith’s Bucket List premiered as one of the biggest debuts for an Original series. Other recent updates to our slate of Originals include the upcoming SKAM Austin Season 2 and community voting elements for MTV’s The Real World, debuting on Facebook Watch this spring with simultaneous seasons from the US, Thailand and Mexico.
New Watch Party Test
Watch Party lets people watch videos on Facebook together in real time, and since launching globally last year, we’ve seen more than 12 million Watch Parties in Groups alone. And Watch Parties garner 8X more comments than regular videos in Groups. We know people love to start and join Watch Parties around videos on Facebook, but we think there’s an opportunity for Watch Parties to help people connect with each other around content that is not on Facebook, too.
We’re introducing a new Watch Party experience that will enable people to host Watch Parties around what’s happening on live TV. People already come to Facebook to talk about exciting events and TV moments — now they’ll have a better way to do this together in real time. To start, we’ll test this globally in Facebook Groups during live sports events like UEFA Champions League soccer matches, giving sports fans the chance to cheer, debate and commiserate on Facebook while watching their favorite match-ups.
Here’s how it works: When you start a Watch Party, you’ll see a new option called “on TV,” where you can select the live game. From there, the Watch Party will feature the live game score as you discuss and react in real time alongside other fans. We’ll also be testing interactive tools within these Watch Parties to make the experience even more dynamic — like the ability for hosts to add trivia questions about player stats, or fun facts, and live polls around which team will win. While we’re testing this initially with sports, we can’t wait to bring it to all kinds of live events and cultural moments, from awards shows to highly anticipated show premieres and more.
More Places and Ways to Share Music
When it comes to people sharing their own videos on Facebook, there are a different set of features we need to provide — and music is central to many personal moments. We’ve been partnering with the global music community to make it possible for people to include music in their videos on Facebook, and today people in more than 40 countries can share personal videos with music. This includes India and Thailand, the newest additions to this list that we’re announcing today.
Our aim is to connect people with the music and artists they love. We’ve started by helping people find new ways to express themselves and connect with artists and other fans through features like Lip Sync Live, music stickers in Stories on Facebook and Instagram and the ability for people to add songs to their Facebook Profile. And today, we’re introducing a new feature: from a song on your profile, we’re making it possible to tap through to Spotify — so people can listen to the full song and discover more from that artist. We’ll be adding other partners in the near future as well.
This is just the beginning — we can’t wait to build more ways for people to express themselves with music on Facebook.