Disney Plus is rolling out its party watch feature, GroupWatch, to subscribers in the US after previous testing in other countries this month.
Similar to Amazon Prime Video’s watch party function, GroupWatch allows a certain number of Disney Plus subscribers to host a private viewing party with friends and family members. GroupWatch will allow up to seven people with Disney Plus subscriptions to watch a title at once, according to the company. The feature, which The Verge previously reported was being tested in Canada, will be available for web, mobile, smart TVs, and connected TV devices like Roku and Amazon Fire TV users.
In an effort to make it as interactive as possible, GroupWatch will also give members the ability to react to scenes with six different emoji (funny, sad, surprised, etc.). People can also control playback controls (rewinding, fast-forwarding, pausing) for the entire group. Disney is far from the first company to roll out a party watch feature for its streamer, but Jerrell B Jimerson, senior vice president of product management for Disney Plus, said “in this moment when many are still apart from their friends and family, GroupWatch offers a way to safely connect virtually by co-viewing” in a statement.
Alongside Amazon Prime Video’s watch party function, and Twitch’s Watch Party feature, there are also a variety of third-party web browser extensions, like Scener, that let people connect their Netflix, Disney Plus, HBO, and other subscriptions so they can watch things with friends. Scener saw a spike in usage over the last few months as people stuck inside used the tools to connect with friends they couldn’t physically see.
Now, Disney Plus is hoping subscribers will use the feature within the streaming service itself. The feature is expected to roll out to European countries where Disney Plus exists later this fall.