Disney is currently testing a new feature that will allow Disney Plus subscribers to create tiny private watch parties.
Screenshots of the feature first started to appear on the Disney Plus subreddit yesterday. Seen below, the feature seemingly allows up to six people to join the party. Another screenshot shows a new icon that appears on a film or TV show’s title page, prompting the GroupWatch function.
The Verge confirmed that GroupWatch is currently being tested in Canada for some Disney Plus subscribers, but the company is expecting to roll the feature out to other markets this fall. The feature allows people to stream any movie or TV show on Disney Plus as long as all participants are Disney Plus subscribers.
Disney is far from the first to create a private viewing party option for subscribers. Amazon Prime Video rolled out a similar tool to its subscribers earlier this year, allowing for up to 100 people in one viewing session. Amazon’s feature, dubbed Watch Party, also allows anyone in the United States to co-stream thousands of titles, including both licensed series and films alongside originals. Prior to that, Amazon also rolled out Twitch Watch Parties, which allow Twitch streamers to host public viewing parties with their subscribers. The only catch is that everyone watching has to be an Amazon Prime member, and the title has to be available in their specific region.
There’s a variety of third-party web browser extensions that allow people to connect their Netflix, Disney Plus, HBO, and other subscriptions up so they can watch films and TV shows with friends, like Scener. Scener was one of many watch party tools that saw a spike in usage over the last few months as people stuck at home leaned into watch parties to stay close with friends. With streaming on the rise, it’s apparent that more companies want to give subscribers the ability to host their own events, right inside the app.