Preference Choice Publication

BBC Together launch enables friends to watch programmes together when they're apart

David Murphy

The BBC has launched an experimental platform called BBC Together,
which enables people in different locations to watch the same programme simultaneously. It works along the same lines as Netflix Party, and the service from Houseparty that enables friends to watch programmes together even if they’re apart.

To use it, viewers find the link of a programme or piece of video they want to watch with others, and paste it into the BBC Together service. Programming available includes on-demand streams from BBC iPlayer, on-demand audio from BBC Sounds, Bitesize educational programming, and BBC News and Sport programmes.

This creates a new group session, which they can share via a link with their friends or family. The person who initiated the session and shared the link can now pause, play, seek, or choose a new programme for everyone to watch at once.

The BBC’s blurb on the service says everyone using it needs to be at least 13 years old, though it seems unlikely the broadcaster would be able to police this.

In a blog post written by Kristian Hentschel, Rajiv Ramdhany and Libby Miller, the BBC said: “BBC Research & Development has a rich track record in experimenting with object-based, multi-device synchronised experiences which increase immersiveness, interactivity and personalisation. We saw an opportunity to use our expertise in this area to create experiences that could bring people together and engage with BBC programmes… We've worked across three teams in R&D and with colleagues in iPlayer and Sounds to make this prototype and release it for testing.”

At the time of writing, an alert on the BBC Together website says the pilot is currently down for maintenance.