Online Video is Evolving into Shared Viewing

Tumblr is the latest in a growing list of companies experimenting with a new trend in online video, shared viewing. The app is called Cabana, TechCrunch reports, and is similar in concept to live streaming for live content, except here users are pulled into a single instance of a prerecorded video and watch it together.

Of course, audiences for TV shows have long been sharing their experiences on social media, but in this case the experience is one for a group of friends watching self-selected content at a chosen time. It’s a more intimate experience.

According to the TechCrunch piece, the app was developed in just two months, and currently allows users to view and share YouTube videos through an API integration (not an official partnership).

Shared viewing is an active area of development for a number of tech companies, including YouTube, but very much in its early stages. But it’s an exciting prospect indeed, especially if Cabana, or any of its ilk, break through to larger popularity.

Consider how marketers are going to have to adjust their concept of impressions when half-a-dozen or more views came from a single session. What are the implications for the education sector when students can consume the same Crash Course lesson on YouTube from anywhere, all at once? What about the instances themselves (Rooms, as they’re called in Cabana)? Should this technology prove valuable, what kind of data can marketers expect to glean from the creators and participants in these rooms?

It’s too early to call, but marketers should definitely keep an eye on the shared viewing space. We just might have another digital video paradigm shift on our hands.

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