On June 29, Amazon launched their new feature Watch Party, which will allow 100 Amazon Prime Video users to watch shows and movies at the same time. For Prime members, the new feature is free.
Complex reports that the feature is currently only available on laptops and is not supported by Apple’s Safari browser. Using the Watch Party tool, users will have “thousands of titles” from their Prime catalog at their disposal. They are also able to act as a host using the feature or join a social viewing session, which would allow for “synchronized playback managed by the host.” The tool includes a chat feature located in a column on the right of the video for viewers to converse.
Amazon’s newest version of social viewing is similar to the Netflix Party, which is an unofficial Netflix tool and an extension of the Google Chrome web browser. Other streaming networks have also taken to this new method of viewing content as the current COVID-19 pandemic has prevented many from going outside for months.
Last month (May), Hulu announced that they were working on their own feature, which is also named Watch Party, for their monthly subscribers.
Amazon’s new feature comes after movie theaters shut down nationwide in March as part of America’s stay-at-home and social distancing ordinance in order to combat the rising number of coronavirus cases in the United States. Many film companies opted to release their upcoming films on streaming sites due to their lack of options. This has also caused for an increased demand for social viewing.