What just happened? Amazon has become the latest streaming giant to hitch a ride aboard the co-watching express. The e-commerce giant this week started rolling out a new feature that allows up to 100 people to watch a movie or TV show together in a virtual chat room. It is only available in the US for now and each user must have their own Prime membership to participate, we’re told.
Amazon’s Watch Party is a native social viewing experience for PC users. According to Variety, it consists of synchronized video playback controlled by the host alongside a chat window on the right side of the video stream. With support for up to 100 participants, Amazon is practically guaranteeing that nobody gets left out of the fun.
All of Amazon’s VOD titles that are part of Prime Video are eligible for Watch Party but content that has to be rented or purchased isn’t. Furthermore, viewing is limited to desktop browsers for now (except Apple’s Safari).
Co-watching isn’t exactly a new idea although it has picked up a lot of momentum during the pandemic.
Amazon started testing its Watch Party concept earlier this year with Twitch. Last month, rival streaming service Hulu launched a similar feature that allows groups of up to eight people to co-watch movies and TV shows on its platform. Like Amazon, Hulu participants must also be paying members to participate.
Masthead credit: Gorodenkoff