Amazon Prime Video has begun to introduce a co-viewing feature called "Watch Party" as reported by Tech Crunch. The rollout begins for US customers only and will come at no extra cost to users Prime membership.
The online shopping element of the business has been doing extremely well to the extent it has run out of items such as disinfectant wipes, however, this is a chance to reinvigorate its online video platform. Elon Musk has also called for the company to be broken up via his controversial Twitter account.
Amazon launches "Watch Party" feature
The new watch party feature begins its roll out in the US and thus far there is no word on when it will come to customers around the world. "Watch Party" sessions can support up to 100 participants so long as they all have Prime memberships.
When in a "Watch Party" session the host will be able to control the viewing experience. As they start, pause, rewind and fast forward this will all be synced to the other participants' devices instantly.
Other companies such as Netflix have similar systems but this is the first time we have seen something like this from Amazon.
The co-watching system is also designed to be a social experience. The feature has an in-built chat system when in a session. This allows participants to interact through the platform which supports emojis and text. At launch, the new feature will be available on desktop.
Not all Prime titles are available
"Watch Party" supports thousands of Prime's most popular titles. These include Amazon Originals like “Fleabag,” “The Marvelous Mrs Maisel,” “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan,” and “HANNA.” However, titles that are only available for rent on the platform will not be supported by this new feature.
It is a simple enough system to get started and use "Watch Party". Users click on the new icon when looking at a show.
Then they are presented with a link that they can share to friends and family who can then join them. Users with the link are then invited into the "Watch Party" and can watch along as well as chat.
This type of activity has become very popular during the coronavirus pandemic. As people have been stuck at home the desire to watch films and TV shows with friends have been high. Therefore, platforms such as Netflix, Hulu and Plexa have all introduced these co-watching features.
Before today Amazon users could use a co-watching platform of sorts. Its streaming platform, Twitch, offered watch alongs but now this feature us much more easily accessible to Prime users.
Amazon has given no word on when the feature will fully roll out, however, there is no reason to suggest that this would not be some time soon.