With the COVID 19 global pandemic bringing in-person socializing to a complete stop, trips to movie theatres have become a pretty dangerous affair. Thus, people have turned to OTT platforms to get their fix of movies and tv shows, in an attempt to fight the lockdown blues. And group watching has caught up as the latest trend in the video streaming industry.
Disney+ has today become the latest streaming service to come out with a new feature that allows friends and family to stream their favorite movies and tv shows together while being in different parts of the world physically.
Initially, online streaming services only catered to the solo boredom needs of its users, but still fell short when it came to providing a viable fix for the user’s social needs.
The Netflix Party chrome extension came out as the messiah that connected friends and provided them with a viable platform to stream their favorite Netflix shows and films together, while simultaneously giving them the option to chat via a sidebar chat box.
Over time, other OTT streaming platforms such as Amazon Prime Video and Hulu have introduced similar features to their streaming platforms in an attempt to connect its users during these pressing times.
Recent reports from the Disney camp suggest that the company had been developing and testing the GroupWatch feature way before the pandemic hit, but the current realities of the world ushered the company to boost its testings and make the feature available to the general public.
After extensive testing in Canada, New Zealand, and Australia, Disney is now all set to launch the GroupWatch feature for its users in the United States of America, starting today.
Disney is confident that this GroupWatch feature will add to the viewing experience of its users and will give the platform an upper hand over its competitors for a multitude of reasons. First and foremost, the feature will not require the user to install a browser extension for it to work. Moreover, it’s scope will not be limited to laptops or desktops computers, which is a big plus for smartphone bing watchers. The Disney+ GroupWatch feature can be accessed by its users from any device that supports the base app. Even Smart TVs!
The user can access the feature from the ‘details’ menu of the selected movie or tv show and subsequently invite up to 6 people to participate in the watch party.
However, all 6 people will be required to possess Disney+ subscriptions of their own in order to access the selected flick.
Even though the feature can be accessed via Smart TVs, the invite links can only be created through the Disney+ app on smartphones or via the designated website.
However, in spite of all the appealing features possessed by the new GroupWatch, there is one crucial social element that users feel this new Disney+ addition lacks. The GroupWatch feature only allows its users to share emojis during synchronized video playback as a reaction to on-screen action instead of the regular chat window, which the company feels to be a disruption to viewing immersion.
However, Disney opines that the lack of a chat box will not be a big omission, as users can very well use just about any other messaging app to chat while simultaneously enjoying an immersive viewing experience together.