Advanced Television

iPlayer trials ‘Watch With Friends’ feature

June 24, 2021

Music fans are now able to get together remotely to watch performances from Glastonbury via a new trial feature on BBC iPlayer.

Viewers using the web version of the iPlayer will find a button saying ‘Watch with friends’ under any programme from The Glastonbury Experience 2021 in iPlayer’s Glastonbury collection. Viewers can click the button and generate a link to share the moment with friends and play, pause, and rewind in sync with each other.

Fans can get together to watch any of over 50 full sets from the BBC archives that are streaming on BBC iPlayer, which includes classics like Radiohead in 1997 and Pulp in 1995, or more recent performances like Kylie Minogue’s Legends set or Stormzy’s 2017 Other Stage set.

They can also watch highlights of performances from Glastonbury presents Live at Worthy Farm with friends. These first premiered in May, and saw the likes of Wolf Alice, Michael Kiwanuka, George Ezra, IDLES, HAIM, Coldplay, Damon Albarn, Jorja Smith, The Smile, Kano and Honey Dijon featuring Róisín Murphy performing from the Glastonbury site.

This trial of the Watch With Friends button is for BBC iPlayer web only, and continues BBC Research & Development’s work on BBC Together, a tool initially developed and released on BBC Taster during the early part of the first lockdown in 2020.

Dan Taylor-Watts, director of product and systems on BBC iPlayer and BBC Sounds, said: “As there’s no Glastonbury on again this year, our Watch With Friends feature will still enable music fans who want to get together virtually to enjoy amazing classic sets from years gone by, and the brilliant new Live at Worthy Farm performances. We’re excited to see how people use it – R&D’s BBC Together tool was a great proof of concept on how people could watch BBC programmes together in sync, and this new experiment will enable us to see what kind of appetite there is for a feature like this in iPlayer itself.”

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