During the lockdown phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, people discovered the joy of watching shows and movies together from afar. Using third-party extensions like Netflix Party everyone was able to remotely binge their favorites with friends.
However, that extension doesn’t support other platforms. It also isn’t perfectly reliable. Making matters worse is the fact that streaming platforms themselves didn’t have features that let users watch shows and movies together.
Disney+, one of the fastest-growing services out there, is reportedly getting ready to launch a feature called GroupWatch that will, as the name suggests, let users watch shows in sync.
When Will GroupWatch Arrive?
Screenshots of the new Disney+ feature first started to appear on Reddit on Thursday. It seemingly allows up to six people to join the remote party. Of course, all six people need to be Disney+ subscribers. It’s unclear if separate individuals using the same account, such as those in long-distance relationships or family members living in different areas, are able to use the feature.
GroupWatch is reportedly being tested in Canada for a select number of Disney+ subscribers. Disney is planning to roll the feature out to other markets later this fall. That’s just in time for the colder months of the year when people will need new ways to stay occupied. Users will be able to stream any movie or TV show from the Disney+ catalog.
It appears that there will be a new icon on the title page for each movie and show that allows users to launch the GroupWatch feature.
Not the First
The arrival of a watch party feature on Disney+ is very exciting. The House of Mouse has curated an impressive selection of content for its streaming service. In April, the company reported that it had topped the 50 million subscriber mark. Adding GroupWatch will be another way to help retain those viewers.
That being said, Disney+ is somewhat late to the party. Amazon Prime Video rolled out its own watch party feature earlier this year. It allows up to 100 people to sit in for one viewing session. The feature, aptly dubbed Watch Party, features similar restrictions as Disney’s, including that everyone must be a subscriber.
Hulu also has a feature called Watch Party for those who subscribe to its No Ads plans. Up to eight people can join each session. Given that Disney owns Hulu, this isn’t very surprising.
Meanwhile, a host of third-party browser extensions have popped up in recent months that allow people to watch content together remotely. Apps like Scener skyrocketed in popularity over the last few months.
Of course, it makes a lot of sense for streaming services to roll out their own watch party tools. Doing so keeps users engaged without them having to leave the platform. It also makes for a more seamless experience.
When Disney+ activates GroupWatch for everyone, subscribers can look forward to virtually watching “The Mandalorian,” “Hamilton,” the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe, and much more.