From Streaming Hub to Streaming Community: Plex's 'Discover Together'
Plex, a media software startup, is redefining its role in the streaming service industry with the public debut of its new feature, 'Discover Together.' This feature transforms Plex into a social network, allowing users to create profiles, follow friends, and discover new shows or movies to watch. The feature was first introduced into beta testing last summer and is now making its public debut.
Media software startup Plex is revolutionizing how we organize our home media or stream free content and reshaping the concept of streaming services. The company recently introduced a new feature called 'Discover Together', marking its transition into a social network. This feature allows users to create profiles, follow friends, and discover new movies or shows to watch.
This move is part of Plex's strategy to evolve from a simple streaming hub into a vibrant community. With 'Discover Together,' users can witness their friends' viewing habits, know what they bookmark for later, and understand how they rate the content they watch.
A Step Towards Competing with Online TV or Movie Communities
Plex's vision is to leverage these personal recommendations to power its suggestions, facilitating users to engage in conversations around their favorite content. This could make Plex a strong contender against other online TV or movie communities, such as Letterboxd for movie lovers or TV Time, combining a TV show and movie tracker with an active discussion community.
The 'Discover Together' feature has four distinct tabs. The first, Discover, shows trending content across Plex and other streaming services. The Profile tab helps users establish their identity on the social networking side of Plex, enabling friends to view the user's Watch History, watchlisted items, and ratings. Users can also set privacy levels around their content ratings.
Improving User Experience and Engaging the Community
Each movie or show page has a history showing which friends have watched and rated it. This will also help users decide if they would like to watch it. Additionally, users can see when they have shared content with their network and if anyone has commented on it.
The People tab allows users to search for new friends by name, location, or interest, expanding their social network with people who have similar content preferences. From here, users can also view a person's friends list, if shared, to check if they have people in common. They can browse friend suggestions based on network and privacy settings.
The Activity tab, Plex's version of the News Feed, enables users to track their friends' activity on the social networking side of Plex, such as when they have watchlisted items, marked items as watched, or commented on a show or movie.
Paving the Way for Future Developments
Keith Valory, Plex CEO, emphasized the importance of a social component in enhancing the discovery experience. He stated, "Viewers are more likely to watch recommendations from people they know and trust." He believes integrating this directly into the viewing experience is a novel approach that Plex is keen to adopt in its quest to improve content discovery.
Despite facing a challenging quarter due to the advertising slowdown, which led to a 20% layoff of its staff, Plex remains optimistic about its growth. The company anticipates a 30% growth in 2023 and continues to improve its services. The 'Discover Together' feature is available on Plex's website, mobile app, and TV apps for various streaming media players.