This week Disney announced a new feature coming to its streaming service, Disney+. According to The Verge, U.S. subscribers will soon be able to utilize a watch party feature called GroupWatch. The feature had been tested in other countries prior to this announcement.
Similar to the feature on Amazon Prime Video, Hulu’s watch-along function, and Netflix Party, GroupWatch will give Disney+ subscribers the opportunity to host viewing party’s with fellow family and friends with subscriptions. According to The Verge, seven people will be able to watch a single title at once. The service will be available across the web and on mobile devices, smart TVs, and streaming devices such as Roku and Amazon Fire TV.
Jerrell B. Jimerson, SVP of Product Management for the streaming service, said in a statement “in this moment when many are still apart from their friends and family, GroupWatch offers a way to safely connect virtually by co-viewing,” via The Verge. This announcement comes in the wake of several other services offering the same virtual watching experience. Disney+ is borrowing a tactic from Prime as well as streaming service, Twitch, which allows viewers to collectively watch users do everything from record podcasts to play video games.
There is also a slew of third-party applications that, when merged with a web browser, turn a computer into a streaming device. According to The Verge, these extensions can then stream content from Netflix, HBO, and many more platforms to a group of viewers from varying distances. Just within the last few months, streaming service Scener has had an increase in usage as the pandemic has many Americans homebound.
Disney+’s GroupWatch will be the ability for viewers to react in real-time, via The Verge. Users will be able to chat with emojis without interrupting the stream. And each viewer will have playback control to rewind, fast-forward, or pause the content. The feature will also be accessible directly in the streamer. As the feature rolls out statewide, GroupWatch will be available internationally this fall.
The feature comes just as Disney+ is on the brink of releasing some highly-anticipated titles including season two of The Mandalorian, which arrives Oct. 30, and Marvel’s WandaVision set to premiere by the end of the year.