Amazon began rolling out its new feature, called Watch Party, on Monday, which is available for free to Prime members in the U.S., Deadline reports. It’s currently limited to laptops and isn’t supported by Apple’s Safari browser.
Netflix Party–a Google Chrome web browser extension and unofficial Netflix feature—gained popularity over the last few months as people were forced to stay indoors amid the coronavirus pandemic. In recent weeks, other streaming sites have also made moves to create comparable tools. In May, Hulu said it was experimenting with its own feature, also called Watch Party for its ad-free subscribers. Seattle-based startup Scener shared details about a similar venture with HBO, Netflix, and other streaming services.
As movie theaters and businesses began to shutter in March, group viewing became an engaging way to socialize with friends and family. For Amazon’s part, “thousands of titles” from its Prime catalog will be available to view with the Watch Party tool. Users can host or take part in social viewing, with the tool allowing for synchronized playback managed by the host. Watch Party will also have a chat feature in a column to the right of the video, for participants’ running commentary.