Disney+ launches new feature GroupWatch so you can binge-watch with friends

Lawrence Kim
September 30, 2020

Besides synchronizing video playback (which any participant can control), GroupWatch allows viewers to respond to what's happening on-screen by sharing emojis.

Once you've selected GroupWatch from the Details menu of a movie or TV show, you can invite up to six other people to participate - of course, they'll need a Disney+ subscription of their own.

Broadly, GroupWatch is created to boost overall usage of the service. It also has the potential to attract new subs, as all participants must have a Disney Plus account: A friend's GroupWatch invite for, say, "The Mandalorian" Season 2 (premiering October 30) could lead to new signups - or, even more lucrative for Disney, one for "Mulan" at $30 per account for early-access viewing.

Jerrell Jimerson, the chief product officer for Disney's streaming services, told me that GroupWatch was already in development before the pandemic, but that the company "worked to accelerate it given the realities of COVID". However, at launch, it won't be quite as sophisticated as some of the other watch party features out there. It's not clear when a chat function might become available, but without that feature, the GroupWatch option feels rather lackluster. In other words, Disney wants its shows and movies to remain the star attraction, without snarky comments or other distracting asides from the peanut gallery. A new group symbol now appears next to the Watchlist icon on every Disney+ title, and when you click it, you can launch a new GroupWatch.

Since the United States was lucky enough to get Disney+ original shows like The Mandalorian before most of the rest of the world, it's only fair that we had to wait a little bit to get the new watch party feature that has been kicking around Canada, Australia, and New Zealand recently. You can then invite friends and family members through a link that can be shared through text or your favorite social/messaging platform, and once they join the GroupWatch, you can start the movie. "The feature is expected to expand to Europe later this fall".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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