Hulu Brings Watch Party To Ad-Supported Viewers

Hulu Watch Party
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Hulu's "co-viewing" feature, which the company calls Hulu Watch Party, is finally coming to its ad-supported subscription tier. The company is testing the feature for ad-supported viewers on comedy series "Pen15," whose season 2 premieres today.

Hulu subscribers on both the ad-supported and ad-free plans will be able to watch together this series with up to seven other peoples. However, support for co-viewing of Pen15 will only be available for the next ten days, i.e. till September 27th. And as a reminder, users will have to be older than 18 to use Hulu Watch Party.

In addition to this, Hulu is also re-designing its Watch Party interface, at least for this test. The interface now resembles a classic instant messenger chat room, where you can chat with your "co-viewing" friends. It includes screen names taken from the series.

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This new Watch Party interface is only available when co-viewing Pen15, though. It remains to be seen if it's a permanent makeover that Hulu is testing, or if it's specifically designed for this series as the theme matches the show in certain aspects. Theming the interface around the show for every show would be a tough ask for Hulu. The company will probably stick to one uniform design for the Watch Party interface on the platform.

Hulu Watch Party now available for ad-supported viewers

Hulu started testing Watch Party with ad-free users back in May. It works across thousands of movies and TV shows on the platform. Shows that support co-viewing are specifically marked with a "Watch Party" icon on the details page. Users can share that co-viewing link with up to seven other peoples and watch the show together.

Every viewer can control their Watch Party experience individually. If anyone pauses the playback to catch a break or grab some snacks, it doesn't impact the playback for the rest of the viewers in the session. When they return, they can either start watching from where they left, or tap on the "Catch Up" button to get back in sync with others.

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This co-viewing concept gained popularity during the still-ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as people were forced home and unable to catch up with friends for a movie night. Several streaming services introduced such features and it became an instant hit among viewers. Verizon also recently launched Watch Together on its Yahoo Sports app. It allows NFL fans to co-watch live games with up to three other friends for free.

Hulu says people use Watch Party to host movie nights and watch new series premieres. Parasite and Palm Springs are among the most popular titles that people have co-viewed on Hulu. Now that Hulu Watch Party is coming to the ad-supported tier on the platform, more people will be able to take advantage of it.

Pen15 Hulu Watch Party ad supported

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