In a move to make your weekly watch of shows like The Mandalorian even more of an interactive and social event, Disney Plus are adding a new feature – Groupwatch, allowing groups of up to seven Disney Plus subscribers to watch and react to shows and films together using a handful of emojis – “like,” “funny,” “sad,” “angry,” “scared” and “surprised.” Developed before the coronavirus pandemic, this looks likely to add even more zing to our Friday viewings of The Mandalorian.
It is the most ambitious push into social viewing by any streaming service yet, expanding on efforts by Hulu and Amazon Prime Video as well as apps like Netflix Party and Scener, which added Disney+ to its roster over the summer. Unlike those other offerings, though, Disney’s GroupWatch is not a web browser extension or something limited to a laptop. It is available, with a few minor exceptions, on all connected platforms where Disney+ can be viewed, on screens of all sizes.
By tapping the GroupWatch icon on a series or film on Disney+ via a mobile device or the web, a subscriber can invite others to join. Once those invites are accepted, the viewing session can occur via a connected-TV device or smart TV.
Groupwatch will be available for Disney Plus subscribers in the States this coming Tuesday, and in Europe by the autumn (hopefully in time for season two of The Mandalorian), having already been trialed in Canada, Australia and New Zealand.