Amazon Prime Video begins offering a co-viewing feature to Amazon Prime members in the U.S., the company announced today. With the "Watch Party" function, which is included with Prime membership at no additional cost, participants can simultaneously watch video content, with playback being synchronized with the host's account.
The moderator of the co-watching session can start, stop, and stop the watch party as needed throughout the session. These changes are also immediately synchronized with the devices of all participants.
Each session can also support up to 100 participants – provided that these participants also have a Prime membership (or a Prime Video) Subscription) and watch from the U.S.
While the video is playing, users can connect with other participants via an integrated chat function that supports both text and integrated emojis.
To begin with, Watch Party will be offered on the desktop via Prime Video and supported by thousands of titles in the Prime Video SVOD (Subscription Video on Demand) catalog. This includes third-party content that comes with Prime, as well as Amazon Originals such as "Fleabag", "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel", "Tom Ryan by Tom Clancy", "HANNA", "Mindy Kalings Late Night" and "Donald Glover "Guava Island", "Troop Zero", "The Big Sick", "The Boys", "Homecoming", "My Spy" and others.
According to Amazon, titles that are only available to rent or buy are not currently available from Watch Party.
To begin Watch Party, customers click the new Watch Party icon on the movie or show page on the Prime Video desktop website. You will then receive a link that you can share with friends and family as you wish. Recipients who click the link will then attend the session and can chat with others.
According to Amazon, the new feature was developed as a native experience for Prime Video.
The company is the latest streaming service that introduces integrated support for co-viewing. This is a popular activity during the coronavirus pandemic as people spend more time at home.
While the United States sought protection under corona virus locks, a browser extension called Netflix Party went viral. Soon all streamers wanted to take part in this campaign. For example, HBO has partnered with browser add-on manufacturer Scener to offer a “virtual theater” viewing experience that supports up to 20 people.
Hulu recently launched its own native watch party feature for its non-advertising subscribers on Hulu.com. Around the same time, media software company Plexa also introduced co-watching support.
However, Amazon had previously offered the opportunity to watch some of its Prime Video titles together. The game streaming site Twitch launched watch parties for more than 70 Amazon Prime video titles earlier this spring. The introduction of the new domestic experience now offers a wider choice and has the potential to expand to other markets in the future.
If you don't see Watch Party yet, you will soon have it as the feature is just getting wider.
Amazon would not comment on its future plans for Watch Party. When asked about the upcoming roadmap, the company would only say that it will introduce features when they are ready for customers.